Many people love to hate Gwyneth Paltrow, the movie star and goop founder, but she does have some good and practical tips, especially when it comes to fitting in exercise when you’re a parent.
Case in point: Years ago, back before I had kids, I read an article about Ms. Paltrow that mentioned how she managed to fit in working out while also having two young children at home.
Ms. Paltrow’s trick, as I remember it: She turned exercise into an activity that she did with her kids, i.e. her little ones watched her while she worked out to an exercise video (I believe it was a Tracy Anderson workout). As she told the reporter, her kids loved to watch her and even move along with her.
For some reason, that tip stuck with me (though the name of the magazine where I read it didn’t). So, now, years later, this trick for turning an exercise video into a mom-and-tot activity is one of my go-to workout strategies and is today’s hint.
Here’s how the strategy works in my home: When it’s time to workout, I tell my 2 year old “it’s exercise time,” and I turn on a cardio workout video (generally one like this via YouTube) on my computer. Then, I talk to my daughter as I do the exercises, describing what kind of moves I’m doing (e.g. jumping jacks) and counting as I do them. My daughter seems to love jumping and squatting along with me, and she counts out the numbers too.
I figure this easy and free toddler activity is a win-win. My daughter and I are both getting heart healthy, and I’m getting some counting and movement lessons in there too. To be sure, my tot peters out before I do, but then she’ll generally just rest on the couch, or play with her nearby toys, while I finish off the workout.
It probably helps that I’ve been taking my daughter to mom-friendly exercise classes since she was a baby. And I’ve been doing exercise videos in front of her for at least a year, so she’s used to them and even seems to know some of the routines. Of course, there are those times when my tot just won’t let me exercise, but those instances have been pretty rare since she learned to jump.
The bottom line: The New Year is all about making resolutions, whether to finally save money or lose the weight. So, if losing the baby (or sympathy or holiday) weight is on your to-do list, the hint above should help, and be sure to check out my other hints for fitting in exercise when you have young kids at home and to share your tips on the subject below.