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Getting Back On Track With Fitness When You're A Parent

Hints and tips for parents juggling kids and exercise
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When you’re a parent, exercise can slide down your list of priorities. But taking a little time to exercise - whether it’s going back to a sport you loved or discovering a new way to get fit - will make you feel re-energised and better able to cope with the demands of family life.

Dad-of-two Dan, 34, from Buckinghamshire, is low on time and low on energy - a familiar story for parents. He loves river kayaking but says Sundays are ‘precious time’ to be with the family and he has to take his two-year-old to nursery in the mornings, previously his gym-time.

But with a job spent sat in front of a computer and online all day, Dan realises he can only benefit from ‘a forced break from technology’ - and in the video below takes some time to go kayaking. Afterwards he says: ‘It feels good to be back on the river. I feel I’ve used muscles I haven’t used for a long time. I feel good for doing it.’

Jay Brewer, Head of Clinical Wellbeing at Nuffield Health, gives his top tips for parents who want to get back on track with exercising and being active in the video.

1. Know and understand your goals.
2. Ensure energy components are correct.
3. Ensure good quality sleep (even if you can’t control the quantity).

And he shares his tips to ensure you remain on track to fitness:

1. Be progressive and patient. Give yourself 1 - 2 days rest periods between exercise sessions.
2. Recover smartly, with good hydration, Omega 3 oils and Vitamins A, C and E
3. Cut down on caffeine after lunch
4. Exercise between 12 and 2pm.

Time-poor parents should also prepare ahead before hitting the gym, according to Nuffield Health.

Pack your bag the night before so your hectic morning with the kids doesn’t distract you from your day’s goals.

And while you’re making breakfast, take five minutes to make yourself a post-workout smoothie - recovery is a vital part of fitness and a berry smoothie with oats, yogurt, milk, nuts and seeds is a tasty way to feed those post-workout muscles. And make a little extra for the children - they’ll love it.