Focus on Fitness: Just for parents: Get back in shape

Rebecca Williams/For the Steamboat Today

Raising children is an exciting, amazing and exhausting job. It requires a great amount of sacrifice, which often includes us giving up time for ourselves in order to put our children first. This is why finding time to exercise can be so challenging. As the weather changes, you may find it harder to squeeze in your workout and make time for yourself. I encourage you to make it a priority this winter to stay active, be healthy and get back in shape. Being physically fit can give you more energy to wrestle, throw the ball or chase after your children.

Here are a few tips to help you make time for yourself and start exercising more regularly:

-Accountability: Commit to exercising three to four days each week. Ask a friend to meet you at the gym so you can work out together — this way, you can exercise and even squeeze in some “adult time” while you are at it. A 6 a.m. spin class is much more fun when you have a blurry-eyed, messy-haired friend waiting to work out with you.

-Variety: Mix it up! Try out a group fitness class. Exercising with others can be motivating and encouraging, and it helps the time fly by. It is also a great challenge for your body, which can help you see results more quickly.

-Encourage your spouse: Help your spouse or significant other make this time a priority each week. Sometimes we all need a little motivation and encouragement.

-Make it a date: Enjoy working out with your spouse on a Saturday morning while your children play at the jungle gym. It is a great way to get a break, be active and spend time with your spouse.

-Start a family challenge: See who can log the most time exercising this month and reward yourself with something special. A little competition can be healthy in more ways than one.

-Make it a family event: Teach your children the importance of exercise. Take them along with you for a run or put them on your back and hike the mountain. You will get a great workout and can take the opportunity to teach your children about the importance of being physically active.

-Rejuvenate: Parenthood is exhausting. Finding time for yourself is extremely important and can make you feel better physically and emotionally. Use your time to workout to rejuvenate yourself, clear your mind and be ready for the rest of the day’s challenges.

-Get dressed: Plan to work out out after dinner? Before dinner, get your work out clothes on and your bag packed so you are ready to go. It is one less hurdle to conquer after your meal.

Commit now to exercising regularly. Start slow and ease into it. Put it on your calendar and commit to a consistent exercise routine. You won’t regret it!

Rebecca Williams is a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, as well as the mother of a 1- and 3-year-old.

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