Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why Do They Call It Free Time When I Have to Hire a Baby Sitter in Order to Get It?: Workout tips the parenting magazines might not tell you

With the holidays approaching, I thought it might be nice to share some fitness and wellness tips the parenting magazines won’t be featuring this season.

For me, Yoga is the best physical and mental break from the rigors of being a mom and it's something I can do at home. Interestingly, whenever I do downward dog, my golden retriever immediately starts humping my leg. So I’ve tweaked my home practice and now stretch while I fix my children’s dinner. The twenty-five seconds I have while microwaving their hot dogs is truly the most peaceful part of my day.

For a lower body workout, there’s the laundry stairmaster. This requires a great amount of patience and is not recommend for those of you who like clean socks. It’s essential that you DO NOT do laundry for an entire week, longer if you have the stamina, and then plunge into an intensive fifteen load marathon. The frequent trips up and down the steps will have your glutes burning. Bonus points for those with a washer in the basement. And, kudos if the jeans need extra time.

If you’re not afraid of a high-impact aerobic workout, here’s a routine I do just before leaving the house. This works best if you’re already running ten or fifteen minutes late and is guaranteed to make you break a sweat. Simply get the kids dressed and ready to go and then realize you can’t find your keys. Everyone then breaks into a frenzied search, making at least three trips through the entire house until you remember you left them in the front door. You’ll want to get a heart rate of at least 111 beats per minute to achieve maximum benefit.

Although I don’t recommend fad diets, if you’re in a pinch, I suggest the, “I’d rather eat cardboard” plan. This was created by doctors and was initially used by nursing moms whose babies had allergies. The nursing mom is asked to eliminate particular triggers from her diet, especially items often referred to as food. What's wonderful about this diet is that you can buy whatever you want as long as you limit your intake to the cardboard packaging. Believe it or not, the box from Kashi’s Oatmeal Raisin Flax Cookies has more oat flavor than the cookies inside and significantly fewer calories.

If you’re thinking of wearing a sleeveless dress at New Year’s, there is still time to get toned arms like the first lady’s, especially if you enjoy frequent trips to ShopRite. All you need to do is carry a twenty-five pound toddler in one arm and a Butterball turkey in the other. Let’s face it, neither wants to ride in your grocery cart. Although it’s cold, the frozen turkey will be a very cooperative counterpart to your fidgety child.

And, of course, Tai Chi is a wonderful stress-reducer, especially when you find yourself stuck waiting in line. Many Americans are unfamiliar with this ancient Chinese practice, so don’t be discouraged if folks ask you questions or give you a little extra personal space. I found that once I explained what I was doing, the security guard at Sam’s Club was actually very helpful.

Needless to say, your husband will try to be supportive of your goals and will probably mention that sex, too, burns calories. Three hundred. Per hour. If I had that kind of free time, I’d be at the gym.


Fran said...

a most humorous approach to excercise - and for us non-mothers, we can benefit too from these ideas... especially the Tai Chi - i've quelled to beg for more pesonal space in public. thank you for the inspiration and permission to do so.

Diana said...

I am a big fan of the "find my keys" workout. I used to do it every day until I hung a hook by my door but am noticing the difference in my thighs. I think I might go back to it. This is hilarious. Perceptive, funny, and truly laugh out loud!

Sarah Vander Schaaff said...

Fran and Diana--thanks for reading and thanks for posting comments!

Alyson said...

What never ceases to amaze me is my keys ability to hide inside my purse! They should be right there. Or there. This made me laugh, Sarah, thanks for sharing=)

Ann said...

Hilarious! I'm laughing out loud.