The great thing about having active kids is that our family is protected from America’s youth obesity epidemic.
The downside is it seems every spare minute is filled with soccer games, basketball games and swim meets. It’s almost a daily occurrence that my wife utters a phrase that begins with “We don’t have enough time.”
(My stock response: “Hey, you’re the one who wanted kids.”)
It’s easy for kids, especially active kids, to become an excuse to put off exercise. You might even feel kind of noble about it. You are, after all, putting your kids first, right?
I’ve met about a dozen people over the last year who lost 100 pounds or more. Almost all of them say it’s that overly self-sacrificing attitude that helped get them in trouble in the first place.
Putting your kids first shouldn’t mean not working out. It ought to mean adapting your workout.
Taryn West, wellness coordinator for the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living, says one good way to do this is to split up your workout.
“A lot of people have it in their mind that if they can’t do their entire 45-minute workout at once then they shouldn’t do it all,” West said. “That isn’t true. Sometimes it’s easier to find time in your day if you split up your workout.”
Three 15-minute workouts are still 45 minutes of exercise. Sure, you’re not building the cardio endurance you would if you did the exercise all at once, but it’s still quality exercise.
West says this approach is also good for overweight people trying to transfer out of a sedentary lifestyle. “It’s a nice way to get back into the game,” she said. “A lot of people adhere to the workout program better when they split up.”
Recently I took this approach in an attempt to reclaim a slice of a Saturday. I wanted to get in a 90-minute workout, but I simply didn’t have a block of time that long.
So, while the kids were fighting over the last breakfast waffle (picture a full-contact version of those old “Let go of my Eggo” commercials), I was squeezing in a 15-minute core workout.
After two basketball games in two different towns we returned home for a late lunch where I sneaked in about 45 minutes of weight lifting.
Next we shuttled my son to a friend’s house and I took my daughter to the pool for swimming. While she cranked out laps, I watched from above while churning out intervals on an exercise bike.
We were home in time for dinner before diving into our evening plans.
Was this ideal? No. But if I had waited until I had enough time on a Saturday to do it all at once the kids would probably be in college.
“I really encourage this,” West said. “... Working out in chunks is better than not working out at all.”
Registration for the Pierce County Matchup team weight-loss competition remains open until March 30. More than 900 people have already registered and have shown no shortage of creativity when it comes to picking team names.
Some examples: Aristofats, Hugh and the Heifers, Lollapaloser, MuffinSTOPpers, Not-So-Thin Blue Line, The Fat and the Furious, Serious Weapons of Mass Reduction and No More Man Boobs.
For more information on the competition visit PierceCountyMatchup.com.
TIPS FOR EATING BETTER
March is National Nutrition Month and MultiCare dietitian Claire Kjeld recently passed along some tips for eating right.
1. Take the time to enjoy your food. “Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories,” Kjeld said.
2. Downsize your plates, bowls and glasses so don’t pile on too much food. Also, portion out food before you eat.
3. Eat more nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or 1 percent milk and dairy products. Kjeld says, “make half your plate fruit and vegetables.”
4. Cut back on foods like cakes, cookies, ice creams, pizza and bacon that are high in solid fats. “Use these foods as occasional treats,” she said, “not everyday foods.”
5. Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks packed with calories.
Kjeld recommends using ChooseMyPlate.gov as a resource for developing and maintaining a balanced diet. The website can help you determine how many calories you need per day to reach weight-loss goals. The website’s SuperTracker enables users to track what they consume and gives personalized eating plans.
For more eating tips from Kjeld, visit blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure.
Craig Hill’s fitness column runs each Sunday. Please submit questions and comments via craig. firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/adventureguys or twitter.com/adventureguys. Also get more fitness coverage at blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure and thenewstribune.com/fitness.