This Guest Blog Post is from Derin Roberts, of San Diego Fitness in Sorrento Valley. Originally from somewhere else like many San Diegans, Derin grew up on the East Coast. He worked in retail from the age of 17 to 21 while going to college, and has worked as a property manager, a writer, and an online marketing advisor ever since. He moved to San Diego in 1994 with his beautiful girlfriend Rita. They were married a few years later, and have been happily married ever since. They have lived all over San Diego County, including Point Loma, South San Diego, Spring Valley, and La Mesa, and they are now happy to call Mira Mesa their home. They have lived in Mira Mesa for 5 years with their two children: Adele age 13, and W.B. age 11.
Derin enjoys spending time with his family, going to the beach, hiking, and cooking delicious food with his wife.
I didn’t think I had time to work out or stay fit once I had kids, but I quickly realized I had to do something if I was going to have enough stamina to keep up with the kids, their activities, cleaning up after them, and doing other things around the house (in the few minutes of free time I get each day, when not chasing after the kids).
As any new parents can attest, dealing with a baby is a workout! Swinging a baby carrier/basket to keep a baby from crying, getting your child in and out of their car seat, lifting your child into a highchair, bathing a child, etc. Children only get bigger and heaver as they get older, so even though we may have to pick them up less often after the age of 3, parenting is still a real physical workout. And when your child starts walking (then running) it can be hard to keep up with them!
Kids love to be chased, to be playfully grabbed, and swung around by their parents (“Daddy sky-ride” my kids call it). These things take more than energy; they take stamina, flexibility and strength. And have you ever tried to crawl up into playground equipment to get a child when they were scared or refusing to leave? That takes some flexibility and strength for sure.
Yup, it seems like nature makes the job increasingly physically challenging, like a workout that builds up over time.
Most of these activities are just for a minute or two at a time though, so they’re not really building up stamina or your body’s ability to replenish muscles with oxygen. You want a sustained aerobic exercise to help you be a fitter, more active parent. Don’t worry: This does Not mean you have to go take an aerobics class.
There a lot of things you can do to stay fit around Mira Mesa: walk around Miramar lake, play with kids at the park, or get involved in a sport. Playing at the park doesn’t have to mean just playing with your younger kids on the playground or playing a specific sport. You can do other physical activities that are beneficial for your family’s health and encourage good relationships. Kite-flying, relay races, or a simple game of tag are all easy to get started and are fun for kids. For older kids try making a kite to fly together, biking, doing tai chi, or playing Frisbee.
Like many neighborhoods in San Diego, Mira Mesa is a planned community. The centrally located shopping, library, and restaurants, and the parks sprinkled around town are one of the main reasons our family chose to move here. Wherever you live in Mira Mesa, it’s possible to walk to a grocery store. If it’s a bit of a walk for you, start smaller. Do your errands strategically with fitness in mind. If you need to go to Radio Shack and Target in Mira Mesa, park by Radio Shack, shop there first and then walk to Target. Once done shopping you can walk back to your car, and because you chose Target as your last stop any refrigerated items will be fine. These stores were just given as examples; you can of course do the same thing in any shopping plaza in Mira Mesa.
Adding a little walking in your day gives you an opportunity to see things you otherwise might not have (sales, different birds than are around your home, a music store, that perfect outfit, a little restaurant you never knew existed, the best boba drink in town, a beautiful houseplant, etc.). For these same reasons walking to places can also be an educational experience for children.
Walk to a restaurant instead of driving. The walk home will help you feel better, because mild exercise actually aids in digestion. Even if you’re just going to a restaurant and it’s too far to walk, park at the other end of a plaza by a store that you want to check out.
So if the goal is to be fit for yourself, your health, or just to make taking care of your kids not leave you with a sore back and panting for breath, there are a number different options that you can fit right into your busy day. You can of course join a gym or get a trainer to help you get the most out of your workouts, but start out by doing what you can right in your own backyard: Mira Mesa.
The key is consistency. Try doing something active several days a week at first, then make it most days of the week. Don’t be hard on yourself for missing a day! These things happen, and things come up (especially with kids). But don’t let that make you give up. There’s always tomorrow, and you’ll most likely be stronger and fitter next week by increasing your fitness activity this week.
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Photo credits: BOIRON