Health and Fitness for Working Parents
Everyone knows being a parent is a full time job within itself, and juggling that with a full time job can be nothing but chaos. How do you squeeze in time to exercise and prepare healthy meals when there seems to be literally no time? I will be discussing time management for working parents, and the importance of incorporating a healthy lifestyle into your daily life. So get your leg warmers and sweatbands ready, because this is going to be one sweaty, time crunching lesson on health and fitness for the full time working parent.
The Importance of Health and Fitness
It’s pretty common knowledge that eating healthy and participating in consistent exercise is the key to a happy and healthy body, but do you know why? There are numerous benefits to living a healthy lifestyle that aren’t all appearance based. Many of these benefits are not able to be seen but you will definitely feel the difference after 3 months of working out and eating healthy.
Exercise can completely melt away the stress you are having in your life, and it is scientifically proven. According to the ADAA, “Scientific study has shown viable evidence that physically in shape and active people have lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who do not live an active and healthy lifestyle.”. Not only are you relieving stress, you are also improving your overall mental health. It doesn’t just relieve your stress, but it relieves everyone you associate with. Think about it, you typically have an attitude when you are stressed, you just aren’t in the mood. The tone of voice you use to address someone absolutely changes that person’s mood, so being calm and happy will result in others being happy, vice versa when it comes to a grumpy tone of voice.
Relating to mental health, a healthy lifestyle actually promotes growth in the brain and enhanced metacognition. This is important as an adult because so many things nowadays actually cause harm to our brain and we are losing information faster than ever. Exercise and healthy eating actually repairs damaged brain cells, and helps activate both sides of the brain at the same time. It has also been theorized that exercising after you study for a test and then exercising right before taking the test not only improves memory, but also test scores farther down the road.
Forget the Rockstar Energy drinks and coffee, go run a mile and drink some water. Seriously, exercise is a natural energizer. Working out first thing in the morning is the ultimate energy jolt, and this is because of the endorphins being released by your body and reacting to receptors in the brain. This effect can be the equivalent of taking morphine, and that is often why you hear people talk about a “runner’s high”. It’s not just the chemicals that give you energy, the pumping of blood through your veins pushes oxygen everywhere in your body which then promotes smooth and natural joint, muscle, and ligament movement. Don’t settle for coffee, go lift some weights to wake up in the morning.
What is the best way to prevent life threatening diseases you ask? Well a 10 minute jog a day can reduce your risk of chronic disease by more than a landslide. Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of developing these diseases and reducing the effects on people who already have the diseases. The main diseases that exercise can help aid in are the following: multiple forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, vascular dementia, Ischemic stroke, all types of diabetes, chronic and mild depression, high blood pressure and other major diseases. But realistically health and fitness can help limit the risk of any disease because health is the key to a long life.
If you look good, you feel good and that isn’t just a saying, it really is true. Working out and healthy eating can make a person feel extremely good about themselves, whether or not they are seeing results. This lifestyle is a confidence builder, and that is why so many people are in love with exercise and their physical appearance. They become addicted to a very healthy lifestyle and pretty soon adapt it into their own personal lifestyle. Give it a try, you might end up loving yourself even more.
Yes, you did read this subheading correctly. A healthy lifestyle will make you essentially ageless, from your skin, to your joints, to your hair. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is backed by science and different studies. Let’s start with the obvious factor that exercise makes you look younger, and gives you smooth, tight, young looking skin. This all has to do with chromosomes, as we get older our cells separate which in turn shortens these caps called telameres. The key to looking young is to have long healthy telomeres, these are the contributing factors to what separates a regular man from an athlete. In his study, Larry Tuckers composed this statement from his study, “Given the same chronological age, adults who engage in high levels of physical activity have nine years’ less cell aging than sedentary individuals.” Basically science has found the fountain of youth, and it turned out to be flowing inside your body this entire time, so go out and exercise or that fountain will dry up for good.
Squeezing in a Workout
All of these benefits sound amazing and awesome, you can’t wait to get started eating healthy and exercising daily, but wait. How can I find time to exercise when I have to work, prepare meals, drive children, and everything thing else you are expected as a parent. It’s easier than you think, but it will take a little time to sit down and figure it out. Here are some suggestions that will help you live this healthy lifestyle without quitting your day job.
Seize the Day
The early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes. Starting off your day with an hour of sweaty aerobics not only gives you more energy than a caffeine filled drink, it also gives you time to go about your day not worrying when you will get a chance to workout. If you wake up at 5 a.m. and bust out your workout session, you will have the rest of the day to yourself. You can also use your early free time to think and prepare each meal you and your kids will be eating that day, which saves even more time in the long run.
Make a Schedule
This is an effective way to always have time to workout if you can’t make it in the morning. Get yourself a calendar and pencil in when you are going to workout each day of that week. Fit it into your schedule, you only need 30-45 minutes to get a good workout in. Make these blocks just as important as a doctors appointment, this is for your own health, it is an appointment with you and your body. Color code them with a bright color and make it aware to everyone in the house that this is your time, and it cannot be missed. This is effective for the extremely busy parent who never has time besides in small intervals.
Involve Your Kids
Let your children participate in a workout session. This can be jogging, yoga, basic level lifting, calisthenic style training, etc. Whatever you do to exercise incorporate it into your kid’s life, this will obviously fill them with the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and possibly spark an interest in the hobby. Kids love to move around, especially with other people. Take this time as bonding with your child, fitness can be something extremely beneficial to a child who hasn’t found their hobby yet or doesn’t want to play team sports. It’s individual and for some children that is a better option than a P.E. class full of 50 kids.
Workout Around the House
If you physically have no time at all, you are always having to do something, then this is for you. It’s like multitasking but different. Say you are cooking dinner for the night, the water is boiling and you are waiting to drop the spaghetti into the pot. Take a step back and do 20 body squats, check on your water and then do another 20 reps. This can be used in any situation, for instance: folding laundry, incorporate a plank position while folding the laundry. Purposely do chores that involve walking up and down the stairs, each time change what you are doing. It’s not hard to bust out 5 push ups after you clean the counters, and it’s extremely easy to watch tv and do dips off of the couch. Many different options to choose from at home, but it is all personal opinion when it comes to the exercise.
Train While They Practice
Soccer practice to them, crossfit training for you. Pretty simple concept, after you drop your kids off at practice you could squeeze in your hour of exercise whether that be jogging around the park they play soccer at, or making a trip to the gym while they are practicing. This can work for any sort of activity your children do because they need time to practice so there is your chance to workout.
Find a fellow parent or friend who wants to workout but doesn’t have the time. Find a time where you both can make it and use each other as motivation. It is easy to quit when it is only you doing the work, but when you have a friend who is pushing you and you are pushing them, then you will find it harder to just skip the day without quilt. Motivation is important, and that is why so many people decide that working out isn’t for them, despite not trying alternate motivation.
Wait Till the Kids go to Bed
If you aren’t a morning person, you might be a night kind of person. You can wait to exercise until the kids go to sleep, then you have silence and room to workout. This is handy if you get tired after a hard workout and just want to lay down. Waiting till the kids go to sleep can also help with meal prep for the next day. But remember that sleep is also important to a healthy lifestyle.
Everyone has the time to workout, but we are all victims of procrastination. It’s all about your mindset and how you react to what life throws at you. Make a plan on how you are going to work out and when, schedule it on your calendar, work around it. Everyone can do, but not everyone does. Are you ready to step up and take the challenge? Go find out and reap the benefits, you won’t regret it, guaranteed.