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Walk Off the Weight and Other Ideas for Exercise for Parents

Walking and other exercise strategies for parents to get in shape

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Between responsibilities at work and home and running around with the kids to shuttle them to and from activities, it can be quite a challenge for parents to find the time and the right workout to incorporate into their routines.

But with a little planning and creativity, you can get fitness into your life, get healthier, and look and feel good. Here are some great ways parents can get fit and make the most of the limited free time they have to get in better shape than ever before.

1. Walk off the weight.

Walk off the weight
iStockphoto

Something as simple as walking -- either alone or with friends -- can help you lose weight and get fit. Get details on how to tailor a walking routine to your own individual needs (how fast, how far, and how often you should walk) to help you optimize walking from Wendy Bumgardner, About’s Guide to Walking.

For some parents, finding a few minutes to walk in the morning a few days a week before the rush to get ready for school and work might be ideal. For others, a brisk walk during lunch -- or during the day when the kids are at school if that is an option -- may be a better fit. Whatever you can manage, walking is one of the best ways you can get fit and improve your health.

2. Exercise with the kids.

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It’s easy to incorporate fitness into fun while you get active with the kids. Some great ideas from Catherine Holecko, About’s Guide to Family Fitness: Host a dance party, hit the playground, or take a walk together.

3. Work out when your child works out.

Does your child take Taekwondo? Swimming? Or another scheduled activity? If so, you can either join the class (if your child is okay with that) or do several laps in the pool while your child has her lesson. Is she going to soccer practice? You can bring along your bike or go for a run while she has her workout.

4. Sneak in short workouts.

10 minute arm exercises
About.com

You don't need to try to block off hours of time for exercise. Fact is, you can gain benefits from even short bursts of exercise, if you know how to target certain muscles and make the most of your movements. Try these videos for a 10-minute cardio workout, a 10-minute core workout, and a 10-minute arm workout anytime you have a few minutes here and there during your busy day.

5. Bring a jump rope and hand weights to the playground.

Watch this video on how to tone your triceps and this one on the benefits of circuit training. By alternating some exercises such as jumping rope, doing pushups, and doing biceps and triceps curls, you can get a good workout in while your kids are having fun on the playground.

6. Take a fitness class.

Many people feel more motivated when they are working out with others as part of a group.

But if the price of a gym membership is too steep for you to join, ask about whether or not they offer classes for non-members; many gyms allow clients to pay for classes only without having to join (the drawback is, however, that you won’t be able to use the machines or the rest of the facilities if you go with this option).

7. Play some outdoor games with the kids.

Plan an outdoor party or gathering with other parents and have kids play some fun physical games. And rather than sitting and watching while the kids have all the fun, join in. You’ll get lots of exercise and have some family fun, too.

8. Pop in an exercise video.

Whether it’s working out with kettleballs or doing some yoga, there’s an exercise video for the workout you want. The best part of doing a video is that you can put it on anytime at home -- perfect for parents who need something convenient and easy.

The downside: If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get motivated unless you are pushed by someone else (a trainer, an instructor in a class, a workout partner), then you are less apt to use the videos properly and get the workout you need.

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