Image courtesy of Hackensack Meridian Health

How to Make Running a Part of Your Life When You Have Kids

It’s one thing to decide to take up running when you’re a twenty-year-old college student with minimal responsibilities. But what about when you’re a parent juggling a full-time job—when you’ve got dinner to put on the table, children to entertain, and bedtimes to adhere to? Believe it or not, it’s possible to make running a part of your life even when you have kids. Here are some tips to make it work.

Run as a Family

When you have kids, you know that time is a commodity. There’s never enough time to spend with your kids. So, if you’re going to make running a part of your life, the best way to do it is to do it with your kids.

If you have very young children, you can do this by investing in a jogging stroller. This can allow you to take them with you, and their weight in the stroller will even give you a little bit of resistance training. The great thing about taking even young children with you when you go running is that it gives them fresh air and shows them the importance, even at a young age, of taking care of your body.

With older children, you may want to give them incentives to get them active. For example, you could each get a heart rate monitor and compete to see who can get the most steps in at the end of the day, or who has the steadiest heartrate at the end of a good run. This can make it fun for them to go running with you. Check here for more information about heartrate monitors. 

Have an Active Household

Want to build up your stamina? Try chasing your three-year-old in circles around your house for a few hours.

The truth is that many parents do more running than they think they do—and those who don’t do a lot of running could if they took advantage of the natural opportunities their kids give them. Instead of sending your kids outside to play, go out with them and kick a ball around. Race to see who can get upstairs first. Jog over to their friend’s house with them.

Having an active household means that even if you have less time each week to dedicate to running, you don’t lose muscle mass or cardiovascular fitness in between longer runs.

Eat Healthy

If you want to make running a part of your lifestyle while you’re a parent, you need to make every minute count. Unfortunately, it can be tempting to do that by cutting down on the amount of time you spend cooking and eating fast food instead.

As a runner, fast food is your enemy. Highly processed, fatty foods are only going to slow you down and make it hard for your body to be the best version of itself. So slow down and focus on eating whole, healthy ingredients regularly.

This is especially true if you’re running to lose weight. Shedding the pregnancy pounds doesn’t mean anything if you’re unhealthy on the inside.

Instead of saving time by eating fast food, consider meal planning or prepping a week’s worth of healthy meals on Sundays so that you can have more time in the evenings for running.

Stick to a Schedule

It’s easy for parents to push self-care items back on their to-do list. When you see that your house is messy or you notice that your kids are starting to outgrow their clothes, it can be tempting to handle that immediately and postpone running.

By sticking to a schedule, you force yourself to prioritize running. Yes, the dishes need to be washed, but it’s 5PM on a Tuesday and at 5PM on Tuesdays you run, so they’ll have to get washed when you get back.

Wrapping Up

You don’t have to give up your dream of becoming a runner just because you have little ones at home. In fact, having children can provide both the motivation and opportunity for you to take up running if you look at it correctly. Running with your children can teach them the importance of a healthy lifestyle while also helping them work off excess energy and get a good night’s sleep. You can even try running for a charity to help them learn the importance of caring for others while also allowing you to prioritize your workout. The fact is, if you’re not running just because you’re a parent, you’re making an excuse—and not a very good one! 

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