How to stay fit as a parent, part 2: the great outdoors

How to stay fit as a parent, part 2: the great outdoors

June 25th, 2013

By Aimee Heckel

Previously, we talked to Elaine Waterman, a yoga and aerobics instructor, who heads up many parent-and-child exercise activities in Colorado.

We wanted to know more of her tips on how to stay fit as a parent — but taking it outside. Here’s her expert advice.

What are some ways that moms can exercise outside, while the weather is nice?

unnamedIf you live in an area with great hiking, you can purchase a carrier for your child and enjoy the workout that an additional 20 to 40 pounds of child can give you. There are many types of carriers to choose from. My favorites are the structured Kelty Pathfinder ($279.95 at and the soft non-structured Ergo ($108 at I have even seen people Roller Blade with kids in the Ergo — not that I would recommend that.

Taking it back inside, but beyond your home, what about gyms? 

If you find gym memberships work for you, then test out the babysitting rooms before you purchase a membership. Gyms offer great fitness classes, but they won’t be as effective if every class is interrupted halfway with a call from the babysitting room that your child will not stop crying. Kids will get used to gym daycare settings, though, so when you do choose a gym, give your child two weeks to acclimate before declaring it a complete failure.

I found that my son cried the first few times, but now he loves it.

What if gyms aren’t your thing? 

If a gym membership doesn’t work for you, but you need the accountability of working out with others, find friends and work out with them. Perhaps you have kids the same age and they can play while you work out. I have been doing this with a couple of friends recently and it is a win-win situation for everyone. Moms get to workout, kids get a built-in play date and afterward we all have smoothies.

What is your best advice for parents who want to exercise?

My best advice for parents looking to exercise is to find a support system. Join a group on Facebook, find an app on your phone that links you to others also trying to lose weight, find other moms to work out with, join a weight loss challenge, or walk with your neighbors after dinner.

imgres-1Money saving tip: Check out apps like Workout Hero ($1.99) or MyFitnessPal (free).

This group of like-minded people can hold you accountable when you want to ditch the morning workout to eat donuts. They can celebrate when you reach a goal and support you when you feel like the goal is no where in sight.

This is why Stroller Strides was so perfect for me as a new mom, as was postnatal yoga. These women were my people, so go out and find your people.

Another tip is to schedule it in in pen. Do not go to Target when you are supposed to be working out. Make a commitment and stick with it. It will get easier when it becomes a routine.

Money saving tip: Did you know they make special Mom Agendas? They’re $48 at Subscribe to the mailing list and get 10 percent off.

And lastly, find something you love. You are not going to stick with a step class is you constantly trip over your own feet (speaking from experience), and perhaps Core Barre isn’t for you if you really just love being outdoors running. Find something that works for you but also challenges you.

What is your favorite fitness purchase?

imgresZombies, Run. It is an app on your phone that tracks your run, gives you missions to complete, and plays sounds of zombies moaning when you start to slow down. Depending on your speed and distance, you complete the mission and you are given a new challenge.

I have always said, “Why run if no one is chasing you?” And this app gives me just that.

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Aimee's passion for storytelling has brought her around the world as a journalist, writing award-winning news articles about Haiti and Uganda. Aimee studied international journalism at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and she majored in journalism and German at Colorado State University. When she's not writing stories for a Colorado newspaper, she travels and volunteers for Think Humanity, her family's nonprofit that helps refugees and disadvantaged people in Africa. She's also a mom, a wife and a furious bargain-hunter. Reach out to her at, find her travel board on Pinterest, follow her on Twitter, or ping her on Google+.

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