5 Practical Tips For Staying Healthy When You Have A Toddler
Having a little one in tow is not a reason to be unfit; actually, it is a reason to BE fit!
The number of times in a day you have to chase after them when they choose to explore treacherous regions in your home, like the top of the stairs, means you have to move speedily and reflexively. I agree it is difficult to add a workout routine or generally take care of yourself when you have a toddler. It is difficult…but not impossible.
What you need is determination and a quality decision to return (as much as humanly possible!) to your pre-baby state. Below are some tips that can keep you fit – remember fitness is not just about exercise!
1. Eat good food:
It’s very easy to just forget about the rules of a balanced diet and eat whatever, whenever. However, you have to realize (if you didn’t already know) that abs are made in the kitchen as well as every other part of your body you want toned. You may not necessarily need to lose weight but healthy food goes a long way in keeping you fit. The simplest thing to do is a substitution, for example:
- Instead of white bread, do whole wheat bread (brown bread)
- Instead of white rice, do brown rice
- Instead of sweet treats, do sweet fruits like mango, watermelon, pineapple – freezing little chunks of these fruits makes it even better.
- Snack on nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts when you feel peckish
- Instead of ice-cream, blend low-fat yogurt with sweet fruits and freeze in a container (you can even use an old ice-cream container just to create an illusion!)
- Instead of store-bought fruit juice, make a smoothie.
There is always a healthy option for what you want (or should I say need) to eat.
2. Drink water:
I would need to write a dissertation worthy of a Ph.D. to tell you all the benefits of drinking water, but I’ll limit myself to saying just this – it’s good for you! When you take as much water as you should, you feel better, look better and are better.
Well, how much water should you take? The math is simple- take your weight in pounds (weight in kg x 2.205) and multiply by 0.67 = your ideal water intake in ounces. (1L is about 34 ounces). So, a 150 pound (68 kg) person should take 150 x 0.67 = 100 ounces which is about 3 Liters daily! It seems like a lot but that’s what your body needs to run optimally. You can add some fruit to it to give it some flavor and also look like you are drinking something exotic!
When someone mentions ‘rest’ most people automatically think – sleep. Sleep is a major part of resting and you should be getting 7- 9 hours per night which shouldn’t be a problem because your toddler should be sleeping at least 10 hours per night. Being unable to sleep is a problem many mothers have but you should try to merge your sleep pattern with that of your child. You can choose to also invest in a good mattress, some cost less than 1000 bucks.
Much more than sleeping is rest; where you take a 10-minute break a few times a day to just chill, put your feet up and hold on to your internal peace. You need that peace so you don’t run mad (especially with the antics of your child!).
When you don’t rest, you lose your peace, get irritable and stressed. This causes you to be mentally unfit to make a decision like ‘it’s time to work-out’. So take that time for yourself and you would be better for it.
This is what you have been waiting for, right? Then let me tell you something new – your best exercise buddy is your toddler! Aside from making you run around chasing him (or her), you can do other stuff with him, for example:
- Go swimming together.
- Dance together (the sillier the better).
- Go to an activity park/playground together and get on the monkey bars or whatever they have there – don’t sit on the sidelines.
- If you have a stroller, take a brisk walk with him in the stroller (preferably a jogging stroller).
- Use your child as a weight. Hold his torso while upright and lift up like you want to throw him in the air. Do about 15-20 reps of this daily while keeping your tummy tight and your core firm. Remember to protect your back.
- Check YouTube for 10-15 minute workout videos. Do the exercises while your child is sleeping or maybe even watching you.
- Do push-ups with your toddler under you and every time you go down give him a kiss. You can do the modified push-up with your knees touching the floor.
Exercising with your toddler can be done during bonding time so you don’t need to find extra time to exercise. Win-Win!
5. Have fun:
I believe this is the most important aspect of staying fit. You have to love and enjoy your life for you to even consider yourself fit. If you are not happy as a person, fitness is not going to be a priority in your life. Just as the good book says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength”.
Take time to do something you enjoy, you can do it with your tot or not, but you have to do something you enjoy just because you enjoy doing it. So, go ahead – have fun!
As you can see, staying fit is not just about exercise, neither is it something that you have to carve out time and drive to the gym for a 3-hour workout session. It encompasses your food, water, sleep, rest, fun and exercise. Being whole and healthy is not just for yourself, it is also for your little one knowing that he/she needs to have an amazing and healthy parent to look up to.
Dr. Charles-Davies is a medical doctor who loves to share health information in a simple and practical manner. For fun, he travels and enjoys learning about new cultures.
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