“I am so busy keeping track of an active three-year-old! How can I find time in my schedule for some exercise?”
It’s true that you need to keep a close eye on toddlers, so it might feel like almost every minute of every day is spoken for. But I have a few suggestions for you! Embrace the closeness you have with your toddler and explore these ways you can exercise together:
Host a Dance Party at Home: Toddlers love to dance, so turn up the music for 30 minutes and dance like no one is watching! Your toddler will love the music and it gives you a chance to really move and get your heart rate up. Adding a dance party to your daily routine will be something both you and your little one will look forward to. Old songs like the Hokey Pokey and The Chicken Dance and The Macarena will seem new again when you are dancing with your toddler.
Walk Around Your Community: Use this time to take walks around your community. Explore small parks which have paved pathways around playgrounds. Toddlers are notorious for walking slowly and noticing every little pebble and stopping to pick it up. They really do stop and smell the roses.
Join a Group: Join a stroller strider group, or purchase a jogger stroller and jog or run with your little one. Even a brief jog every day can make a difference for you and your baby.
Visit Local Parks: This is a good time to discover the small local parks in your neighborhood. A short walk in your neighborhood with a picnic lunch will help you to break up your day. And helping your child on the swings and up and down slides will help you stay flexible.
Check out the Zoo: Enjoy the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park! Membership includes both parks and allows you a lot of flexibility. Toddlers love animals and watching the animals move in their natural habitat is important for children of all ages. However, if you are not sure about the commitment, you can check it out during October when entry is free for kids under 11 years of age. Also, if you decide to skip the zoo membership, Balboa Park has more than 1,200-acres of open space for walks, running the grass and playing in playgrounds. In addition, museums in Balboa Park offer free admission on a rotating basis every month to residents of the City and County and San Diego, as well active duty military personnel and their dependents.
Get to the Beach: Enjoy the late afternoon or early morning time at the beach. You can run with your toddler at the beach when the crowds are low. Your toddler will appreciate watching the waves splash over the sand and will love finding seashells. You can figure out when low tide is and go explore the tide pools where small creatures are exposed and you can watch how your toddler explores nature.
Try Weight Training: Use your toddler as a weight to do squats and arm lifts. The average toddler weighs 25 pounds. Doing situps with a toddler in your lap will result in belly laughs for everyone! Laughter is good for you, too.
Embrace Yoga: Kids love to try to imitate your yoga poses. Yoga allows you to take deep breaths and practice being mindful of the things you do every day. Take a few minutes to do this with your toddler.
Take a Bike Ride: Toddlers love bike rides. Depending on your needs, you can purchase a rear carrier/trailer for your toddler or simply buy a bike seat carrier. Start with a short bike ride, and then work up to longer rides. Don’t forget, everyone riding on a bicycle or in a bike seat must wear a helmet!
I hope you are able to use one or a few of these ideas in your daily routine. Remember, toddlers grow up fast, so be sure to enjoy this time together.