Can having children help you lose weight? Here I am starting on the journey of both kids in school five days a week: Rex preschool, Vivien 2nd grade, and Oliver off to college. I’m hopeful that this new schedule means my workout routine will skyrocket me back into my size 4’s. Here I am jogging for 30 minutes on the first day of this new, freed up mommy sked.
Yeah, not pretty.
However, I was asked by a fitness writer if she could contribute a post. I don’t normally do that, but I’m wondering, “did I just send my best personal trainers off to school?”Wouldn’t I look cuter playing with children than the hot mess I am here?” Pass me the air guitar!
So, from Jennifer Bayliss, who has lots of initials after her name, from Everyday Health is part of the answer.
Channeling Your Inner Child
I don’t know how or when it happened, but my kids are growing up. My oldest child is now entering kindergarten and I am finding myself bombarded with organized activities–soccer, T-Ball, hockey, karate, even outdoor play is now a scheduled event instead of a spontaneous childhood endeavor.
I can remember being the same age as my son and asking my parents to go to gymnastics, tennis lessons, and dance classes like my friends. As the proud, but overwhelmed, parents of a new set of twins, their reply was to tell me to go play outside, but not to leave the yard. What? How fun is that? But I found myself, literally, outside and running laps around our house. I would try to see how many times I could go around without needing to stop and each time I would try and top my last number.
I find myself trying to find a balance with my son. I want him to be part of an organized activity so he learns the benefits of team play and working with others, but I also yearn for him to spend lots of time running and exploring on his own. I now understand the value of unplanned and free play as an opportunity to tap into his imagination, to learn that not only is our yard an outdoor extension of our home, but it can also double as an Olympic Track and Field venue. And to top it all off, it’s great for his health.
These days I find myself playing right alongside my son
(a)because I love spending time with him and
(b) because now I know that outdoor play burns calories and builds lean muscle. As an adult, I still tend to crave organized activity as well–Spin Class, Zumba, Boot Camp Class, or a half marathon. And I still do all of those classes and running events, but now I find myself looking at the playground at our local elementary school in a different light. Those monkey bars and wobbly bridge are a boot camp style obstacle course. I just need to use my imagination and be creative with my workouts. So while my son is acting like an almost 6-year-old little boy, I am getting my exercise in for the day. Just to give you a little idea of how many calories you can burn per minute playing with your child:
Average Calories Burned Per Minute (based on a 150lb person)
Riding Bikes: 5 calories
Jumping Rope: 14 calories
Climbing a Tree: 4.5 calories
Hop Scotch: 7 calories
Dancing: 9 calories
Exploring in the Woods: 7 calories
Jumping On and Off a Tree Stump in Said Woods: 14 calories
Playing Tag: 7 calories
Running Laps Around the House: 12 calories
Playing Air Guitar: 4 calories
Just think how good this is for your child too! Now get out there and play.
Jennifer Bayliss, MSEd, ATC, CSCS, Manager of Fitness for Everyday Health’s Calorie Counter is a guest blogger and mother who loves burning calories while benefiting her son’s health.
Source: 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities