Welcome to motherhood! Please take a seat.
And sit and sit and sit.
Who knew there was so much sitting involved in raising a kid?
We sit to nurse, to watch an infant play, to drive them around town, to watch them play soccer, to read stories, to eat meals together, to let them play outside. Add that to the sitting that comes with computer usage or watching TV, and even a full-time mom can spend her entire day in a chair like an office worker.
And we don’t get a lunch break.
This has been bothering me for some time. My children are very active and usually get a few hours of outdoor time everyday. I am thrilled to give them a healthy lifestyle, but what about me? I wake up before my family to sneak in a sunrise jog and try to carve out some yoga time if I can, but the rest of the day I am basically sitting down or standing in place as I cook.
There are two components to building fitness: working out and living an active lifestyle.
Basically, if we spend our days sitting down, our workouts do little more than make up for our missing activity. They can help us maintain our weight and health, but it’s hard to make any real strides in changing our bodies if we still live a sedentary lifestyle.
Enter Playground Orbits
As soon as children are competent climbers on a playground and don’t need constant safety monitoring, there is no reason to just sit on a bench and watch them play. Instead, try orbiting the perimeter of the play area.
I’ve been doing this for a month, and I absolutely love it!
While the children play, I circle the play area over and over. I don’t jog or speed-walk, because I think that’s a little weird for everyone else at the playground, plus my main focus needs to be keeping a watchful eye on my kiddos. This isn’t a workout, it’s just raising my activity level.
After a 45 minute walk, I can feel it in my legs. My circulation has improved, and I am even able to clear my mind a little. Our brains developed during a time in evolution when homosapiens were extremely active, and there is substantial scientific evidence that an active body supports a better brain.
There’s a bonus for the kids too.
I’m much more willing to stay a little longer and go a bit more often to a playground knowing that my body will benefit from it too. I don’t have to compromise my health for theirs.
I also have the opportunity of getting closer and further from my children as I orbit. When I am closer I can overhear conversations without looking like an intrusive parent. When I am just a bit further, they get a small sensation of freedom, which is healthy as well.
Try it out for yourself. Just remember, it doesn’t count as a workout.