Work In a Work Out: Finding Fitness with Kids While on a Budget

Parent Child Yoga at Orinoco Fitness
Got a few pounds you’d like to lose? Need a way to relieve stress? Maybe you’d just like to lead a more active lifestyle and have more energy? Whatever your reason, we could all benefit from more physical activity in our lives. With obesity rates soaring in our nation’s children, it’s our responsibility to set good examples for our kids. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week by doing activities like brisk walking, ballroom dancing, or general gardening.” That’s 30 minutes, 5 days a week.

Well, that’s all well and good you may say, but how exactly does one find the time with kids to workout? It’s easy enough if you can afford an expensive gym that provides child care, but for the rest of us, what are we to do? No more excuses – there are plenty of options to work in a workout that won’t break the bank or force you to commit child neglect.

Take a Hike
A simple way to get in your 30 minutes of activity without finding a babysitter is to bring your child with you on a brisk walk around the neighborhood. If you’d like something more picturesque, Lake County is blessed with nearly 100 miles of well-kept, Forest Preserve trails which are free to explore. To make sure you are working at the proper intensity, check out these tips.

Babywearing

{Photo Courtesy of Babywearing International of Chicagoland}

If your child’s pace is a bit too slow, or you find yourself frustrated with keeping them focused, why not just strap them on your back? Babywearing is an easy way to keep your child close and safe while getting your exercise. The added weight only intensifies your workout. Babywearing isn’t just for babies either, some carriers can hold children up to 40 pounds, so your toddler or pre-schooler can join you too. Best part is the motion will probably lull them to sleep, so you get a no-fuss nap and exercise. It’s win-win! For the budget-conscious, a simple stretch of quality cloth can easily be turned into a baby carrier. For local assistance in finding a carrier that’s right for you, as well as guidance in proper usage check out Babywearing International of Chicagoland.

Jogging Strollers and Bike Trailers

Wait a minute… aren’t jogging strollers and bike trailers pricey? I thought this post was about how to find fitness “on a budget?”

Jogging Strollers and Bike Trailers don’t need to be expensive and are a wonderful way to get exercise and bring the children along. Search Craigslist and rummage sales for secondhand deals or check out The Lake Forest High School Senior Class Bike and Bake Sale on Saturday, May 7th at 10:00 am, Lake Forest High School East Campus Field House, 1285 N. McKinley Road. Gently used jogging strollers, bike trailers, tricycles, wagons, scooters and rollerblades will be available. For more information email mflagstad@mac.com or m.kerr4@comcast.net
Mommy & Me (and Daddy too!)
While a Mommy & Me Workout Class may not be affordable for you right now, there are many Mommy & Me Workout DVD’s available for purchase. Better yet, see what your local library has on the shelves.

Need a break from the kids?
Sometimes you just can’t get the stress relief from exercise if the children are around. Don’t sweat it. There are kid-free options too.

YMCA
Your local Y can offer rates that are competitive with some of the fancier, big-name gyms and many offer babysitting services. What they have that you won’t find at other gyms is financial assistance for families with a demonstrated need. Membership may be fully waived or reduced and is subject to program or facility capacity. You can find your nearest location online and fill out a financial assistance membership form.

Sit-and-Swap
Talk to your other parent friends. Chances are there is one among them who is eager to work out too.Devise a schedule where you watch their children while they exercise, and then you switch off.

Put the Kids to Bed
Aren’t they sweet when they’re asleep? And also conveniently out of your way! Have your spouse or other caregiver stay with the children while you sneak out to exercise. This may require some late nights or early mornings on your part, but the me-time is worth it.

If you don’t feel safe outdoors in the dark, or don’t want a workout DVD to wake your little ones, your local park district may have options for you. For instance, the Gurnee Park District offers early morning lap swim (starting at 5:30 am) at Warren High School, O’Plaine Campus and night swim (9:00 pm) on Wednesday evenings for only $4. You can be there and back before junior even knows you are gone! Check out your own local park district to see what is available.

It may take a little bit of creativity on your part, but fitness is within everyone’s reach, even parents on a budget. The rewards are truly priceless. After all, we can’t take care of our children, if we don’t take the time to care for ourselves first.


What ways have you found to squeeze in a workout? Share your strategies in the comments below!
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About Loralie 424 Articles
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home. She is the Features Editor and Marketing Director at Little Lake County.

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