How to Exercise With the Family in the Pandemic and Beyond

With the coronavirus still a serious threat, it’s more important than ever to exercise regularly and stay fit. Not only that, but exercise has also proven to be a godsend during the pandemic as it certainly helped ease the monotony of isolation. There’s no question that working out remains a worthy pursuit for the entire family, including yours. Fit Dallas Mom explores how you can make movement an indelible part of your family’s routine, now and always.

Prioritize Safety

When working out with the family, at home or otherwise, you want to take certain measures for safety’s sake—not only to reduce the risk of injury, but to keep your workouts a pleasurable family activity.

● Prevention is better than cure, especially in a pandemic, so make sure to observe safe workout practices to prevent injuries when exercising at home.

● When you exercise outside continue to take safety precautions against the coronavirus.

● Wearing a mask is a real necessity as you venture outdoors, but learn how to use masks when exercising safely.

Stay Motivated

When it comes to working out, getting off the couch and on your feet can be the most difficult part. But with sufficient motivation, you can get everyone moving and, in turn, keep everyone healthy.

● There are some great ways to motivate yourself and your family to start working out.

● Streamline your day, starting in the morning, so you’re not forced to squeeze in a workout when you’re tired.

● It can be a great idea to start a family fitness challenge to get everyone moving.

● investing in workout gear and clothing can also be amazing motivators.● Make sure to reward yourselves to keep you going.

Activities to Love

Working out with the family is a lot more pleasant with fun physical activities that everyone will enjoy.

● Observing a solid morning routine will give you and the family more room and energy to exercise.

● Make use of online fitness programs that the whole family can partake in and love.

● Yoga is a particularly wonderful exercise for the entire family as it not only serves the body, but it helps reduce stress, too.

● Choose activities that allow social distancing as you take your workouts outdoors.

● The whole family can even stay fit by playing video games that gets everyone moving

Indeed, there are plenty of reasons why you must make exercise a part of your family’s daily routine—and zero reasons not to. It’s a healthy habit that will truly serve your family—not just in the pandemic, but for life.

Written by guest writer Janice Russel of Parenting Disasters

Image Credit: Pexels

Pregnancy leg day

I’m a little over 6 months pregnant now. My belly is getting bigger which means movements while working out are getting more difficult. However this isn’t stopping me from working out! Workouts are the one thing keeping up my strength and energy for the boys!

Today was a leg workout. 4 sets of 12! 💪🏻

Pregnancy workout

Im now a little over 5 months pregnant and I’m not supposed to do full on ab exercises. However, my doctor did encourage workouts that include some core! She said this will help with belly strain due to weight of baby as well as strength for labor! So I’m doing legs mixed with core. I haven’t used sliding discs in so long. They’re definitely harder to use when pregnant! I don’t have the stability I had pre baby.

For this workout I did 4 sets of 15 on each leg (30 total) for the toe point balance slides. 4 sets of 20 on each leg (40 total) for the mountain climbers. Then 4 sets of 15 on each leg (30 total) for the plank leg slides.

Working out in a mask

I went to the gym for the first time in 6 months! It’s crazy to think masks are the new normal. However, I honestly don’t mind! I love that people aren’t sneezing and coughing all over the place. I actually haven’t been sick in months! By now I’ve normally had a cold at least once or twice. I swear it’s thanks to the masks I haven’t caught anything!

Working out with a mask on wasn’t exactly easy. The gym wasn’t very busy thank goodness so I took my mask off a few times. I do honestly really appreciate the distancing and cleaning required now. I hope it stays that way after all this corona stuff settles. Literally everyone in the gym wiped up and disinfected after they used a machine. It was great! Normally I’d see maybe a few people doing that. It was annoying because you have those sweaty people who use a machine and don’t care to take the time to wipe up after themselves. It was so gross. But now, everyone is cleaning! I love it!

I also really appreciate the distance requirement! I HATE when people stand too close to me in the gym. I like my personal space and when I workout I like to be left alone. By requiring 6 ft between people I get the space I’ve always wanted! It really it was like heaven for me.

I know wearing a mask, distancing and disinfecting is inconvenient for some, but I absolutely love it! Like I said, I hope life stays this way. It’s as if people have finally learned how to be clean respectful individuals

Summer slim down

I started my “summer slim down.” This year I have a good friend helping hold me accountable. I’m a week in and I’ve done pretty good! I’m someone who does better with a goal. I’m less likely to cheat on a diet or get lazy with workouts if I set a goal to work towards. I think it’s the competitive side of me that kicks in. I don’t like to lose. Plus, having a friend give me that little push tends to help.

I’m not doing an extreme diet or anything. I’m simply cutting out a few items that I regularly grab while grazing or boredom eating. So less cheese, less milk (I drink a crazy amount), less sugar, less carbs and less alcohol. I still consume a good amount of carbs. I need them to fuel my body. But I’m aiming to add in more complex carbs and reduce my simple carb intake.

The word diet doesn’t mean you’re going on some strict meal plan. A diet by definition is “the kinds of foods that a person habitually eats.” So I’m making little adjustments to my regular eating habits.

My overall goal is less snacking. I’m someone who goes to the fridge to eat just because I’m bored. So I’ll grab a snack when I’m not even hungry. I’m attempting to cut out these extra unnecessary snacks/meals.

Superset workout type

When it comes to workouts, I’m a “superset” person. A superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between exercises. 🤔

I don’t like to do the same exercise movement and rest in between. I’m someone who has to keep moving in the gym. I don’t like down time. So supersets work well for me. I typically do 4-5 supersets which is a total of 8-10 exercises. I do anywhere from 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps depending on the exercise and the weight. 🏋️‍♀️

Obviously this type of workout doesn’t work well for everyone but it’s been great for me. It’s helped keep me from getting bored at the gym. I also don’t have time to piddle around and waste time. 💪🏻

Gym etiquette

I’m a huge advocate of gym etiquette. I do my best to share and not take up space. I observe people around me and watch to see if someone is using a machine before I take it. If someone is using a machine I want to use I’ll ask if they mind me working in with them.

Yesterday in the gym I went into the back part of the gym where it’s more secluded. There was a man working out BAREFOOT. While I found this incredibly disgusting I tried to just brush it off. I piddled around for a minute to see what he was doing so I could see what items I could use that he wasn’t.

He was taking up a majority of the area with the items he was using but I figured I could still use the cable machine in between his little circuit because it was out of the way.

In the middle of me doing my first set he comes up to me, literally stands uncomfortably close, close enough that I could feel him breathe and says “I need to do pull-ups here.” So I turned to him and said “I’m using the cable, I’ll be done in a second.” He then said “or you could move over there” and points to where I apparently should move for him.” I’m not a witty person and I never have a come back but the words just fell out of my mouth this time and I said “you can have good gym etiquette and share.” Mind you, there are 4 other areas with pull-up bars that he could have used but for some reason he wanted the one I was under. He snapped back and says “or you can just move.” So I smiled, turned back to what I was doing and finished my set. I grabbed my phone, and went to find a gym manager. I reported him for being barefoot in the gym, which is against health code. The gym manager confirmed with me he made the guy put shoes on. Which I appreciate.

I find it shocking that people have no ability to share and can be that blatantly rude. Is it because I’m a female and I was “in your way?” Or were you just never taught to share with others? I guess I’ll never understand. Hopefully the next time I run into him in the gym he says something to me again when my husband is there. Because ladies and gentlemen, barefoot guy won’t stand a chance when my husband gets ahold of him!

Cardio vs Weights

Pretty proud of the progress in these pics. The one on the left is from 2014. I did two hours of cardio a day (one in the gym and one walking the dog), little to no weights and was super restrictive with my diet. I weighed my food, counted calories and avoided oils, salts, sugar, etc.

The picture on the right is current. I do all weights, very little cardio (used as a cool down) and eat what I want (within reason.) Plus add in taking care of an infant and chasing around a toddler as my extra exercise. My diet consists of lots of protein, veggies, fruit, carbs, etc. I don’t avoid anything. I have something sweet maybe twice a week. I don’t drink sodas or juice like drinks, but honestly I’ve never been a fan of them so that makes it a bit easier.

My degree is in Sports Sciences. I took nutrition and biomechanics classes for years. I knew better than to do two hours of cardio and diet restrict. But I still did it. When I was in my 20’s I was impatient. I wanted quick results. Now at 34, I’ve learned when it comes to health and fitness you have to be patient. I’m finally taking my own advice. The advice I gave to people for years but ignored myself. Better late than never! Lol

TRX Map

My gym got this machine called a TRX map. I’d watched people use it every so often and they looked ridiculous. But it peaked my curiosity. So with a little push from my husband I tried it.

The machine has you stand in place and do three squats. While doing this it measures your balance, flexibility, etc. When I got my results I was shocked but things made sense.

The results literally told me I’m standing crooked. It’s not obvious to any person looking at me but the machine picked it up. My right shoulder sits higher than my left and my left hip is higher than my right. When I brought my results to the head trainer at my gym he explained them to me. The imbalance is likely due to how I carry my kids. I ALWAYS carry them on my left hip. Hence why my left hip is up more than my right. I’m constantly pushing it up and out. My right shoulder is higher than my left because my spine is out of alignment. This is due to the muscles on my left side being stronger than my right due to the way I hold my kids! So crazy but it makes sense!

The trainer recommended that I foam roll my hips, back, and glutes more regularly. He also recommended I try to use my right side more when carrying the kids and stretch after workouts.

I’ve been foam rolling daily and alternating sides when I carry the kids. I’m not the best about stretching but I’ve been trying to squeeze it in here and there. I could actually feel a difference in my hips within two days of making the change.

I’m going to retest myself on the machine in exactly a month and see if there’s much of a difference in my results. I’d assume there would be since I can already feel a difference but we shall see! 💪🏻

The Dreaded Workout

Have you ever dreaded going to workout…..got yourself there…..and come out thinking, yeah that still sucked? 😂 That’s not what you thought I was going to say was it 🤪 But seriously. Some days when I am not feeling the gym, I drag myself there and afterward I’m like oh yeah that was great I’m glad I went. Other days I think to myself, that was horrible and I’m still annoyed I’m not just sitting on my sofa.

We all have our days! Today was one of mine. I just had zero motivation. I finished my workout and still felt no motivation. I would much rather have been in sweatpants sitting on my sofa with a hot bowl of pho.

I’m sure my body is grateful I went to the gym, it’s just not letting me know it yet. The movement helps increase blood flow which reduces my risk of blood clot during pregnancy. It also reduces my leg and foot swelling so I have less aching during the day. There’s so many amazing benefits of workout during pregnancy. So for now I’ll just be grateful I made it through the workout despite my lack of motivation. I know there will come a day, last time it was right at 9 months, when I almost physically can’t workout due to size even though I’ll be dying to.