If you’re the parent of an active child (or active children), chances are fitness is still a part of your life. That’s not to say you necessarily have to be an athlete as well – but you’re likely to be on the go, surrounded by sports, and generally attached to a fairly active lifestyle. This can throw your own fitness into sharp relief! Many parents of athletes are inspired to get back in shape themselves, or even to set a better example by maintaining a high level of fitness. But as you undoubtedly know if you’re of parenting age, this gets harder and harder to do with age.
We’re not here to preach comprehensive wellness routines or full exercise plans by any means. But here are a few general things to remember as you set about bettering your own fitness.
Go For Fit – Not Skinny
Adults are accustomed to slowing metabolism, and find it much easier to pack on those extra pounds. And because of this, a lot of us will focus on getting skinny, rather than just getting fit. This is something that was pointed out in the first of several inspiring stories written up in an online magazine. Covering a woman named Jenna who dropped 70 pounds (!) post-pregnancy (!!), it specified her desire to become a fit mom – not just a skinny one. It may seem like a silly distinction, but think of it this way: fit will lead to slimming; skinny doesn’t necessarily mean fit. It’s important to try to focus on total fitness rather than just eat less or run more, or do something else specifically targeting your gut, thighs, or waistline.
Give It Time
Starting a fitness routine, or just intensifying your focus on exercise, can be exciting. And as a result of that excitement, you might start checking the scale every day, or trying to fit into your old pants every morning. This is normal, but it’s a little bit counterproductive. It might get you discouraged, and ultimately it’s important to remember that the best stories of losing weight and getting fit usually involve a lot of time! A couple years ago one of the better weight loss stories in recent memory surfaced online, concerning a British man who vowed in January of 2014 to lose five stone by the end of the year. That’s about 70 pounds, and he pulled it off, winning a bet in the process! Jenna, the woman in the above example, did it in six months, but a post-pregnancy situation is a little bit unique. The point is, don’t give yourself days or weeks to see a
difference – stick to it for months.
Sports Aren’t (Just) For Kids
This is a simpler tip, but one that a lot of parents could stand to be reminded of. Most of us are very engaged with our kids’ efforts in sports – we even frequently fall in love with sports we never had an interest in previously. So why not play? You’re never too old to learn at least a version of a sport, and that doesn’t have to mean just kicking a soccer ball around with your child or something of the like. You can seek out coaching or an adult league team, or even get together some other team parents to scrimmage just for fun. Sports are key components of a lot of the best fitness efforts, simply because they make working out more fun and interesting. It’s something far too many of us give up far too young.
Avoid The “All Or Nothing” Mindset
This is a point that was made in an article at Lifehacker, where the simple point that doing something is better than doing nothing was put forward. Too often, we get caught up in the idea that if we can’t make it to the gym, we won’t work out, or that if we can’t run five miles, we just won’t run. This is a very prohibitive type of mindset that can ultimately destroy a fitness routine. Focus on getting something done, and you’ll be more likely to establish a lasting routine that you can then build upon. Even 15 minutes a day of activity can be the start you need to kick yourself into gear!