As a stay-at-home dad, I find that taking time out to exercise can frequently become somewhat of a chore. My day is typically consumed with dropping off my teenage daughter to school in the morning, picking her up in the early afternoon, helping her with homework, picking up my wife from the school she works at (ah, the joys of a one-car household!), tutoring as a side-job, taking my daughter to dance class, and church. WHEW! All these obligations send the very idea of exercise to a resounding last place. I do realize the importance of regular exercise for my own health. If my health falters, my family is not going to have Mr. Mom around for long! It has taken me some time, but I have figured out some ways to incorporate exercise into Mr. Mom’s busy schedule.
Here are five ways I use to integrate workouts into my weekly routine.
Diet is as important as exercise.
I have found that diet is an integral part to my overall well-being. When I first began being Mr. Mom a few years ago, I neglected exercise and piled on the pounds. According to the Body Mass Index, or BMI, I was severely obese. With all that extra weight, my energy level dropped significantly, all I wanted to do in between obligations was sleep, and my happiness level was nil. I have since modified my diet to include all-fruit smoothies for breakfasts, salads for lunch, and some sort of protein for dinner, and my BMI is down to 25.9, just in time for dance rehearsal and school!
Just prior to getting out of bed each day, I take a few minutes to do some ab crunches. Without disturbing my wife next to me, I put my legs in sit-up position, and pull myself up five to six times using my stomach muscles. I do not put my hands behind my head, because that exercises my spine and neck, not my abs. Plus, grabbing at my neck like that could lead to some chiropractic issues I don’t even want to consider.
Living in Florida during our yearly fall rainy season, there is always plenty of yard work to do. I generally take about 15 to 20 minutes a day, while my wife and daughter are getting all prettied up for school, to do a little yard work. According to Answers.com, I burn about 40 calories pulling weeds and weed whacking. Over the course of a month, that’s roughly the same calories amount of calories as a Big Mac and Fries (which I don’t eat, mind you).
Walk wherever I can
Much to the consternation of my family, I’m one of those that typically parks in the last space away from the store. I do this consciously, so that I have to walk that extra couple of feet, adding to my exercise profile. If I do this several times a day, I could get in a mile or two walking, without really realizing it. I also try to take the stairs whenever possible, which is great for exercise reasons but I’ve also found it’s safer, considering the times I’ve gotten stuck in elevators.
The final thing I do as part of my personal exercise profile is the ubiquitous exercise video. I try to do an exercise video once a week. The video is usually harder than I can handle and I drop out after about five minutes, just in time to shuttle off to my next activity.