The importance of exercise as a parent & how to do more of it

As any parent will know, a consistent exercise routine is one of the first things to go after you have children. With shifting priorities, less time to yourself, reduced sleep and less energy, it is entirely normal for new parents to find themselves exercising less.

While it is common for your usual exercise routine to slow down or even come to an abrupt halt, it can still be possible for parents to incorporate some form of exercise into their week. Regular exercise is essential to the well-being of everyone, parents included. Not only will it help to keep you physically healthy and strong, warding off disease and injury, but it has invaluable mental health benefits which are especially important for stressed out parents. It has been proven to have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It relieves stress, improves memory, results in better sleep, and boosts overall mood.

Ultimately, while exercise will demand some of your precious time and energy, the results you achieve from it make the effort well worth it, helping you to be a happier, healthier individual, and as a result of this, a better parent.

How can I do more exercise as a parent?

While finding the time and motivation to exercise as a parent is tricky, there are a few ways you can include more in your daily routine. The important thing to realise is that your definition of what makes up exercise has to shift after you have children. Change your perspective, and exercise and activity aren’t as hard to achieve as you might think.

1. Be active throughout the day

One of the most efficient ways to fit exercise into your day is to make it a part of your usual daily activities. For example, instead of taking an hour to go to the gym, you can be active in a number of different ways such as walking to the shops instead of hopping on the bus.

2. Exercise more efficiently

One of the skills you pick up very quickly as a parent is time management and making the most of every free second you have. You need to exercise more efficiently with the time you do have – an effective workout doesn’t need to eat up a large chunk of your time, it can be done in 20 minutes if you go hard. Research HIIT routines and you’ll find a multitude of workouts you can do at home and with minimal equipment in a speedy free 20 minutes.

3. Invest in home gym equipment

If you are working out at home, it might be worth investing in a few items to help you out. Equipment doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – a workout mat, resistance band, skipping rope and a set of barbells are just a few things that could help you do the job.

4. Make exercise a family affair

One of the most effective ways of squeezing in exercise is to do it with your children and kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you get more exercise, but your children will too. A few ways to exercise together are to walk/cycle/run around your local park (an idea might be that you run while you kids cycle so you move at a similar pace); play ball games together such as soccer; join a local gym or club and go swimming; there are plenty of opportunities when you think of it.

If you have the means, it is well-worth joining a club where the whole family can get active and spend time together. For example, at David Lloyd Clubs we offer plenty of activities and sports for children of all ages, including tennis and swimming. Your kids can receive coaching or join one of our kids’ clubs or programmes, while you spend time working out on your own or in a class. You can then meet up to spend some quality time together during a family swim, tennis match, or just chilling out at the café.

If you’re looking for further advice on exercising as a parent, head down to your local club where one of our friendly experts will be happy to help.