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Tips for getting into a fitness routine

Monday, August 8, 2016

When you’re the parent of a newborn, toddler or preschooler, it can be hard to find time to exercise. Your schedule is no longer your own. But taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your child. When you exercise regularly you are
  • being an active healthy parent
  • increasing your energy levels
fitness routine with baby
Whether you’re starting a new fitness routine or trying to get back on the exercise bandwagon, there are some great benefits to staying physically fit. So how do you get into a fitness routine when you have a baby to care for? Northpoint Pediatrics, an Indianapolis based group, has some great tips for parents who are ready to get moving again.

FITT: Frequency, Intensity, Time & Type

The American Academy of Pediatrics knows that physical activity is important for every member of the family. That’s why they recommend all families start following the FITT model for good health and active lives.
  • Frequency—Do some type of physical activity every day.
  • Intensity—Choose an activity that is at least moderate in intensity, and also try to add a few more vigorous activities over the week. Vigorous activity is activity that makes you breathe hard and sweat. (Reaching a certain heart rate is not necessary.)
  • Time (duration)—Plan on a total time of at least 60 minutes of activity each day. This can be done all at once or added together over several shorter 10- to 15-minute blocks of activity. Breaking it up into smaller blocks of time is a great way to start a new program or fit activity into a busy schedule.
  • Type—The type of activity can include a variety of team sports, individual sports, recreational activities, family activities, active hobbies, and walking or bicycling for fun and transportation. Several times every week do weight-bearing activities that promote muscle strength, flexibility, and bone health. The most important thing is to choose something fun!
exercising with baby
Those guidelines will serve you well as your family grows. As your children get older, they’ll need to stay active for their health as well. In fact, when you visit Northpoint Pediatrics for a well-child visit, your doctor will ask about your child’s activity level. Your exercise habits will be a great example for your children as they grow. Our doctors encourage all of our families to be active for good health. We aren’t just here to help your child, we’re here to support you in your goal of having a healthy family.  

Exercise with your child

There are resources out there at local fitness centers, in books and online that have great ways to exercise with your children. Do a search for “exercise with my baby” and you’ll find a ton of articles that outline simple ways to workout.

A great way to get started: put your child in the stroller and get in a great exercise walk or jog. As your child gets older, include play - playing is a great form of exercise! Walk to a local park or playground, let the kids out of the stroller and play with them before heading home. Make exercise a fun way to bond with your child and you will be more likely to keep up this healthy habit!

Make exercise part of your daily routine

Perhaps the hardest part of exercise, for parents and non-parents alike, is making it a habit. You can make exercise part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth if you make it a priority. Limit your sedentary activities - watching TV, using the computer, scrolling through your smartphone - and start using some of your downtime for fitness.

A good way to hold yourself accountable is keeping an online activity log. Keeping track instills a sense of pride when you start to see the log fill up with healthy, active exercise. And the log can be a great motivator to keeping an exercise streak going. There are free online tools and phone apps where you can log your workouts and join a community of like-minded people who support each other.
As a parent you have a very strong reason calling you to live a long, healthy life. Making time for exercise can be difficult with the demands of parenting, but it’s time filled with good benefits. As your child grows, talk to your doctor about ways your child can be active with you too.

Have you scheduled your child’s next check up? Schedule online. We're looking forward to seeing you!
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