- Include them when you walk. This one is a no-brainer; if you can’t leave them with someone, then bring the littles along! Babies are happy to ride in a stroller once the weather warms up some; just tuck a blanket or two around them (remember that you’ll warm up a lot faster than they will, since they’re not exercising!), pack a snack if they’re old enough to sit up and eat it, and be on your way! You could bring a toy if you can clip it to the stroller itself; otherwise it’s likely to just be dropped a dozen times. Many babies are content to watch the world go by when riding in a stroller, anyway. Older kids can accompany you on your walk on foot or on bike or scooter. You could even make it a regular part of your day, now that the sun is shining later into the afternoon. Take a before-dinner walk to relieve the stress of the day and to burn some calories, too.
- Dance and play the calories away. Young children love to dance, and as far as they’re concerned, exercise videos count as dancing. Pop one in, and let them be as involved as they want to be. Of course, you could also actually dance: Play some peppy music and dance without abandon; they won’t be judging you! While you’re at it, try some of their other favorite activities to burn calories. Play a game of tag, try your hand (or your hips!) at hula hooping, or run and climb at the playground. Even swinging while pumping your legs can get your heart pumping.
- Carve away from kid-free time. Sometimes, you just want to get away from the kids and relax while working out. Find a time that you can have your partner spend time with the children while you attend a Zumba, yoga or aerobics class, or while you take a mind-clearing jog around the neighborhood. If that isn’t an option, see if you can switch kids with another mom: You take hers on Mondays and Wednesdays, while she takes yours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour so you can get some exercise time in. Even if it’s only an hour or two once or twice per week, something is better than nothing when it comes to working out!
Remember that these years go by quickly and soon enough they’ll be old enough to stay home while you work out, or to ride around the neighborhood on their bicycles with their friends while you jog off in a different direction. In the meantime, though, it’s important to make time to exercise when and how you can, so you can stay in shape, for your sake as well as theirs.