The alarm rings. You struggle out of bed. Take the dog outside. Start coffee. Wake the kids. Start breakfast. Get the kids dressed for school. Get yourself dressed for work. Before you know it you’re about to be late for the school bus and if the kids miss the bus you’ll be late to work.
With mornings like this, it can be hard to find time to exercise. Fortunately, exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym for hours. Exercise can be done with your family in your own home in as little as 10 to 15 minutes!
Give these ideas a try or brainstorm more with your family!
Fitting In Fitness
For many, doing exercise first thing in the morning is nearly the only way to ensure it won’t get skipped later in the day. But with busy mornings, this may seem impossible. Start by establishing a morning routine. This starts with creating a bedtime routine to ensure kids (and parents) get enough sleep (read our back to school blog for sleep routine tips).
Prep for the morning the night before – set out backpacks, workout clothes, school and work clothes, prep a grab-and-go breakfast, pack lunches, etc. Get up 10-15 minutes before your kids to sort out any last minute tasks. Create a chart for the morning routine to ensure kids stay on track and accomplish everything that needs to get done before heading out the door. Include things like exercise, shower, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, put on shoes, take backpack, take lunchbox, and leave for school. A chart like this one can be especially helpful for keeping kids on track in the morning.
Most importantly, try to remain calm no matter how off course the morning goes. Kids can become anxious and stressed if their parents are stressed out.
To make your weekday morning routine stick, it’s best to stick to it on the weekends, too. It’s tempting to sleep in as late as the kids will let you on a Saturday, but sleeping in on the weekend makes it more difficult for kids to get up during the week. The weekend routine can vary to include special things like having a more relaxed breakfast, but try to get up about the same time.
Many of us know we should exercise for our health, but why should we bother exercising with kids? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 21.6% of 6- to 19-year-olds in the United States meet the recommended 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity on at least five days per week. This is unfortunate because just like in adults, there are many benefits of exercise for kids including:
- Stronger bones
- Stronger muscles
- Lower risk of obesity
- Improved emotional wellness and classroom behavior
- Improved blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Improved cognitive function including memory and concentration
- Starting healthy habits at a young age provides benefits that last a lifetime
To reap these benefits, kids need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days if not daily. It doesn’t have to all be at once, rather it can be in approximately 10-minute intervals that add up to 60 minutes by the end of the day. This is where a wearable activity tracker comes in handy, which automatically keeps track of all your active time during the day.
One way to increase the likelihood of achieving these exercise goals is to walk or ride bikes whenever possible. Do you live near the school or grocery store? Instead of driving the short distance, walk or ride bikes with your kids. Walking and riding instead of driving helps us to be good stewards of God’s creation, caring for our bodies and the environment. Plus, kids love stomping in puddles! Invest in rain boots and jackets so you can walk even when it’s raining. What better way to appreciate God’s creation than stopping to look up at rainbows He gives us?
Instilling healthy habits early in a child’s life helps them to live a long, fit life impacting the Kingdom and glorifying God.
Great fitness tools for kids
Go Noodle: https://www.gonoodle.com/
Cosmic Kids: https://www.cosmickids.com/category/watch/