Sure Fire Back-to-School Fitness Guide
by our Health Coach

With the start of school, parents are once again faced with the chaos and craziness of early mornings, homework projects, scout meetings, sports practices and games, and the constant chauffeuring that comes with having kids. The good news is that although you may look a bit crazy when you're running around the house in curlers while you chase the dog that has your kid's homework, you are actually getting some exercise.

Aside from the aforementioned chaos, it may seem like there is just no way to find time for fitness, but we have to disagree. We've come up with a back-to-school fitness guide to help fit health and fitness into your already filled-to-the-gills schedule, making it easier for you and to help you make it part of your everyday routine. Here are some essential steps for starting your back-to-school fitness plan:


  • Make a commitment
    Think about why you want to do this. When you have a strong reason to want to make a change, you are more likely to accomplish your goal. Take the time right now to write down your goals, including WHY it's important. Make a few copies and post them in places where you will see them often.

  • Make a schedule
    Getting organized and sticking to a specific timed routine will not only help you to get everyone to school on time, but may just open up some small pockets of time. Your fitness times should be just as important as the rest of your daily tasks. If you schedule time for them, you are much more likely to follow through. Don't block off an entire hour if you don't have it. Find 10-15 minute blocks of time. That's enough time for a walk around the block or some push ups, lunges, jumping jacks or crunches. Exercise is a great energy booster, so if find the time, get up and get moving!

  • Change your habits
    You may have started some habits during the summer that are counter productive to your fitness goals. Think of at least one habit from summer (such as sleeping in, or putting off the workout until it's cooler) and replace it with a habit that helps you to reach your goals.

  • Drop the "all or nothing" attitude
    If you don't have time for a full workout, it doesn't mean that you can't do anything at all. You can find places for fitness throughout your day. Here are five ways to include fitness in your normal routine:

    1. Butt Puckers
      How many hours a day do you spend sitting? Think about how much just in the car or at the computer. Use this time to do glute squeezes (clenching your butt cheeks as hard as possible and holding for 30 seconds at a time). Repeat as long as possible and as often as possible.

    2. Gut Busters
      Again, how much time do you spend standing in lines, at the sink doing dishes or at the stove cooking? While you're just standing around suck your button into your spine. This move works your abdominals for long term results but also improves your posture and acts like an instant girdle.

    3. Cheesy Cheerleaders
      Instead of passively sitting and watching your kid's next sporting event, why don't you play cheerleader? Jumping and running up and down the sidelines not only let's your kid know you're watching and you care, but it also helps you to burn fat and improve your health and figure all at the same time.

    4. Savvy Shoppers
      You can work your arms and calves while you shop! Use your handbag as a weight for some bicep curls while you shop. While you're in the checkout line, work your calves by getting on your tip toes for some calf raises.

    5. Cardio Cleaning
      You've probably perfected the easiest routine for cleaning the house. Well throw that routine out the window. Start cleaning one item at a time. Instead of picking up all the dishes on your way to the kitchen. Take them in one at a time, moving as much as possible. Taking several trips to accomplish something may take a little longer, but remember, you are actually saving time by cleaning and working out at the same time. If you have stairs, making several trips between floors burns a lot of calories. If you don't have stairs, you can tighten up as you tidy by doing lunges as you walk from room to room.

Remember, back-to-school craziness affects parents and kids as schedules change and hours get filled with everything from soccer practice to violin lessons. It's easy to let exercise slide when things get busy. But it is possible to find time for fitness, just use the tips and suggestions that we've given you to -- pardon the cliche -- just do it.

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Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.