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How to Exercise as a Parent: Getting Creative

Jackie Hering

Once we become parents there are plenty of personal sacrifices we make, but working out doesn’t have to be one of them. I want to share with you my experience in learning how to exercise as a parent and help you avoid missing out on the myriad physical and mental health benefits of consistent exercise.

How To Exercise as a Parent?

I was a professional triathlete for five years before having my first child. It didn’t occur to me that having him would stop me from doing what I loved doing. Since then I have had another child and continue my professional racing career, recently becoming one of the top American middle distance triathletes. 

I know first hand that becoming a parent and being an athlete takes a great deal of flexibility, balance and creativity to get workouts in. But I’ve found it is also rewarding.

Showing your kids a healthy lifestyle and the importance of a healthy body sets the tone for everyone in the house. 

Taking the time and making a small investment to get your in-home training area in order will be one of the best decisions you make. You can cut back on your excuses, get mentally tough, and come out of winter in fighting condition come spring! 

Finding Time by Making Time

Work, family time, kids all gets very busy and can put pressure on your desire to exercise as a parent.

In the rush and scheduling of a normal day and week it is all too common for that 45-minute workout time slot to be skipped for a trip to the grocery store, an extra hour of sleep or simply not wanting to drive to the gym.

It’s no surprise that many people truly believe they have no time to get workouts in. My response is that there is always time for your priorities. As soon as you make the decision that taking care of your body is a priority amazingly you will find time. 

Setting up a home gym is a very smart investment for any parents who are time conscious. Not only can you head to the workout space at any time early morning or evening, but your kids can workout with you. If they are old enough, they can do their own thing while you do yours. The ability to do this at home is HUGE. It takes out so many of the convenience related excuses!

A Basic Home Gym for the Busy Parent

As for setting up your home gym, there are many options. 

Nearly any type of training you enjoy is now supported by some type of app and any amount of accountability you need is out there. 

Nearly anything can be done in the comfort of your home while still connecting with others doing the same thing, it’s pretty great! 

Start by thinking about what exercise you enjoy the most and what makes you feel good. Begin building your space from there. 

For me, it started with the bike trainer, a few free weights, and a yoga mat. 

Eventually, I found a good deal on a treadmill and added that to my growing home gym. With a little bit of research and planning you can transform a small, underutilized space in your home into your new personal gym.

How to Exercise as a Parent: Mindset Is Everything

Mindset is everything when it comes to exercise, forming new habits, and enjoying the process. 

If you are thinking that you HATE the treadmill, you probably will. 

Deep down, we all hate the treadmill, but you have to decide if you hate the treadmill more than you hate not getting your workouts in. Moms (and dads) can do hard things. Running on the treadmill for convenience is often one of them. 

Whether it’s just indoor training through the winter or a new phase of parenthood, time will pass one way or another. 

How will you feel if that time passes and you let attitude stop you from exercising? 

I have found that the social aspect of some of the indoor training can also be motivating. For example, on the treadmill or bike trainer, I love to ride with friends on Zwift. It keeps me accountable and often makes me work harder than I would on my own. 

Even if you don’t have anyone to meet with, it seems just logging the training in Strava is motivation enough most times.

Now is the Time Start Your Parent Exercise Program

Put the how of ‘how to exercise as a parent’ into action immediately. Don’t let another season pass you by with the ‘shoulda, coulda’ or ‘I wish’ or ‘someday’ feelings. 

There is no better time than the present to take control of your life and your situation. Do what the next year you will thank you for!

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Jackie Hering
Jackie Hering

Jackie Hering is a professional triathlete, triathlon coach, race director for her company Rooster Events, happy wife, and mom of two children (Hunter and Skylar). She is a former Ironman Wisconsin champion, a 5x half-ironman 70.3 champion, and a USA National Showshoe running champion. You can find her baking sourdough bread or kicking back with a good IPA.

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