Exercise Routine For a Busy Parent

This mother of three works out, takes care of her little ones and has fun—all at the same time.

By Julie Brink, Hortonville, Wisconsin

Exercise For a Busy Parent

I'm lucky enough to have three personal trainers. Not only do they exercise with me several times a week and help me achieve my fitness goals, but they don't charge a thing—other than a few hugs and kisses!

Before you get the wrong idea, I should tell you that my three "trainers" are my children, Anne, Daniel and David. And together, we've discovered that aerobic videos are a fun way for parents to exercise regularly and attend to their children…simultaneously!

I became a full-time homemaker after my husband, Dean, and I had our first child. I wanted to exercise three times a week, but I couldn't find an affordable fitness plan that fit into my ever-changing daily schedule.

Preferring to do housework when the baby napped, I tried to exercise while she was awake. I found it difficult, however, to keep her occupied during my workouts, and I didn't like the idea of putting her in child care while I went to a gym. I decided to try an exercise video.

Training with Tapes

The first video I bought focused on jogging in place. I was able to put baby Anne in her playpen and exercise right next to her. As I became more familiar with the tape's routine, I could jog around the playpen, keeping Anne well-entertained by jogging toward her and tickling her belly every now and again. Not only was I losing weight and firming up, but Anne loved our new "game," and my workouts became fun for both of us!

When I was expecting my second child, I switched to a prenatal workout video. After Daniel was born, I used the postnatal-exercise portion of the video…then switched to a low-impact aerobic one when I was ready for a new challenge. The marching and stepping movements of the video enabled me to play with my baby, enjoy a game of tag with my preschooler and pick up a few toys around the living room—all while keeping in sync with the video's routine. I could even march into the kitchen and check on dinner without missing a step!

Now that I have three kids, I know that if I couldn't exercise while caring for them, I wouldn't work out very often. The exercise videos continue to help me stay agile, toned and energetic, but best of all, they keep me available to my children, making my workouts interesting and fun for all of us.

(Be sure to talk to your doctor first before beginning any exercise program.)