One thing that surprised me about having kids was how physically demanding it is. Sure, there’s the fatigue you hear about, but no one tells you that taking care of babies and toddlers can practically be considered an all day workout. Most workouts are “sprints”—you exercise at a fairly high intensity for 30 minutes or an hour and call it a day. But taking care of kids is a marathon—bending, squatting, lifting, and carrying weight around the house off and on all day. Read on for how parenting is a workout and how you can make your daily child care chores work your body!
The Child Care Challenge: 6 Moves That Strengthen While You’re Caring For Your Kiddo
1. The Walk and Bounce. When babies are little, they love to be in constant motion. They also love to be held all the time. Therefore, you will be in constant motion with the baby. Sometimes the rocker will do the trick, but other times the baby wants you to actually move around the room—and they know the difference. Even an 8-pound baby starts feeling heavy after awhile, so your arms will start to feel the burn sooner than you think. Walking laps around the house is a good way to get moving or you can work your butt and thighs by doing a steady bounce with the baby.
2. Stroller Strength. Hauling the stroller in and out of the house or car is no easy task. Strollers can easily weigh 30 or even 40 pounds, so any trip out of the house will exercise your upper body. Bend with your knees—it’s better for your back and you get some leg-firming movement!
3. Car Seat Hauling. That infant car seat seems so light at first. But as the baby gains weight, your arms get more of a workout! Don’t be tempted to throw the car seat over your forearm; I’ve learned that that’s a recipe for repetitive stress injury. Instead, carry the seat in front of you and build your core strength.
4. The Comedy Routine. When your baby starts laughing, you’ll find that you’ll do anything to get that giggle. Your comedy routine may include, but is not limited to jumping, dancing, shuffling back and forth, and throwing the baby (gently and safely, of course) into the air, all of which are great exercise.
5. Changing Diapers. Have a changing table? Lifting a baby up onto it for a million diaper changes a day will work your arms. Change the baby on the floor? Getting up and down is great thigh work!
6. Running Around. From chasing a toddler to prevent him from moving kitchen chairs to chasing a crawling baby to prevent her from getting into the dog food—not to mention loads of laundry and general daily fetching of toys, burp cloths, rattles—child care is nonstop movement!
Child care is no joke and you’ll definitely gain muscles. But don’t use it as an excuse to skip your workout. On the contrary, you need your workouts to have enough energy and strength to parent!