Like everyone else in the universe, grandmothers know that they must exercise if they want to stay healthy as they get older. (FYI, “older” is always at least 10-15 years out from your current age, no matter how old you are.)
But if you have a schedule that’s packed with paid or volunteer work, caring for grandchildren, and just the many tasks that seem to fill our waking hours, how do you make time for fitness?
Welcome to Grannercize, the grandchild work-out.
Yes, taking care of your grandchildren can double as an exercise routine. In fact, it often happens without you even realizing it. That’s why you’re so exhausted when the kids finally go home.
Here are some exercises I find myself doing while caring for my grand-daughter. I’ll bet you can adapt them to your workout routine, too:
Squats. Just for fun, count the number of times you have to get down to your grandkids’ eye-level to communicate with them or prevent a mishap. Trust me, your average gym rat with his 10-20 reps will look like a piker compared to you.
Lunges. See if you can pull whatever that is the baby’s picked up before it makes it into her mouth. Do it quickly, but remember not to overextend your knees – keep them over your ankles. And try to switch legs occasionally, if you can stop panicking long enough.
Dead lifts. Pick up the baby, put down the baby. Repeat a couple of dozen times a day. Lift with your knees or your back will hurt in places you forgot you had by the next day.
Weight lifting. Children gain weight at an amazing rate when they’re young. And so do their car seats, diaper bags, strollers, toy boxes and other paraphernalia – at least it seems that way. Watch your biceps grow as you lug the kids and their stuff around your place. (Bonus points if you have stairs.)
Treadmill. The repetitive nature of this device, once used for prisoners and now eagerly sought out at your local gym, can be duplicated by the endless bending down and picking up of food and utensils that get thrown from a high chair by your grandchild.
Incidentally, if you’re going to be using a high chair a lot, it pays to invest in a dog. Dogs do an excellent job of keeping the area under the chair free of food. They don’t mind soggy crumbs or pre-digested bits, either. And dogs are endlessly entertaining for children, who’ll undoubtedly start to toss food overboard just to see the dog gobble it up.
Fitball or balance ball. An easy-to-duplicate exercise. All you have to do is try to stay vertical when you trip on a toy while carrying your precious grandchild or an armful of laundry. You’ll be wobbling and trying to right yourself with the best of them.
Relay race. Can you grab the kid like a baton and make it to the bathroom in time? Unfortunately there’s no hand-off, but there are fun consequences if you lose this one.
Army crawl. You can get the benefits of this boot-camp favorite by getting down on the floor and crawling on your elbows along with the baby. Babies love it; your knees not so much.
Elliptical. Roll your hips while you push a stroller uphill. You’ll be sweating and panting in no time.
And, of course, there’s always running in place. That’s pretty much how I remember my years parenting two active boys.
There you have it. Get a thorough work-out without leaving your home environs or following an exercise video. Just another way grandkids keep you young!
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons