By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
Schools are back in session and that can mean pretty hectic schedules for parents with all the drop-offs, pick-ups and extracurricular activities. It’s no wonder that some moms and dads have a difficult time finding an opportunity to excise.
Younger kids that aren’t enrolled in school yet can also put time constraints on parents’ schedules.
“Parents with children aged 18 or younger are also slightly more likely than those without a child in their home to be obese or overweight; with parents of 5-to-18-year-olds the most likely to have a body mass index that puts them either in the obese or overweight category,” stated a 2010 Gallup article published on the website www.gallup.com/poll/141014/parents-struggle-fit-exercise.aspx.
The article used findings from about 60,000 interviews with Americans as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The article also stated that Americans with children in the home reported exercising less often than those who didn’t have children at home.
Marie Haigh, of Pottstown, has three children and home schools them. She finds times for exercise by incorporating it into her day and involving her kids as much as possible. Haigh said she once tried to do an exercise DVD series after the children went to bed.
“That lasted for like maybe three days,” she said adding that she was exhausted and losing valuable sleep time.
Now, Haigh just finds time for fitness in her regular schedule. Anytime the kids go to the pool she uses that as opportunity to swim right along with them. Haigh said she runs around as much as possible when taking the kids to the playground.
“I Just try to incorporate it (exercise) right into our day otherwise it doesn’t get done,” she said.
Haigh and her children also participate in several area activities like regular community bike rides through the neighborhood. She connects a trailer and tag-along piece to her bicycle so all three children can ride along as she bikes. Haigh also took all three of her children to community 1-mile walks in the summer and the family walks on a regular basis for transportation to the library, playground and stores.
Haigh said being able to exercise as a family and with others really helps her to be able to fit fitness in her schedule. She is a member of the No Excuse Mom Group of Pottstown. The group helps moms stay healthy by connecting with others and supporting one another. There are mom groups around the world that offer free workout opportunities.
“It’s wonderful because the children are always welcome,” Haigh said.
She said the Pottstown group is usually done at a park where there is a playground for the children. There are even online workouts that members can view on their own time. Currently the Pottstown group has more than 200 members and interested moms can request to join the group at www.facebook.com/groups/noexcusemompottstown. To find other No Excuse Mom exercise locations, visit www.noexcusemom.com.
There are also support resources for fathers that want to be healthy. Fit Fathers is a nonprofit corporation with an educational website. The website includes information on fitness tips, nourishment strategies and total wellness.
“Stay active, eat clean and continue to energize your life,” is the mantra stated on the website www.fitfathers.com.
Fathers can take the Fit Father Pledge on the website which includes committing to exercising three to five days a week, eating fruits and vegetables daily and getting regular checkups.
For more healthy living stories including recipes, visit the Fit for Life website at pottsmercfit4life.com.
HEALTHY UPCOMING EVENTS:
GROWING STRONGER CLASSES IN LANSDALE, AMBLER
When: Sessions begin Monday & Thursday
Where: Senior The PEAK Senior Center located at 1292 Allentown Road, Suite A, Lansdale & Adult Activity Center located at 45 Forest Avenue, Ambler
More Details: The Strong Women and Growing Stronger program is designed for middle-aged and older adults to help them increase muscle mass, strength and bone density. The Lansdale classes will run for two 6-week sessions beginning Monday. The class will be every Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Ambler classes will also run for two 6-week sessions but beginning on Thursday. The class will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information about either session or to register, call 610-489-4315 or visit extension.psu.edu/strongwomen/events.