Byline: Kelli Holland, Manager Communications and Education, Total Rewards
Throughout the month of July, we’ll be publishing a series of articles to get you and/or your kids ready to head back to school. This week, we’ll be focusing on staying physically active while driving the “mommy bus.” Last week, our article was about scheduling the health exams your kids might need to start the school year. And in future weeks, tune in for an article about assistance for the costs of college as well as an article on healthy back-to-school lunches.
I have a combined family of four very active girls, so I drive a mommy bus. No kidding. My girls actually call my Suburban the “mommy bus.” Like many of you, we are constantly on the go.
You name the sport or activity and we participate or have tried it: softball, soccer, volleyball, karate, T-ball, Girl Scouts. The list goes on. What I have found, though, is the more physically active I encourage my girls to be, the less physically active I become. I’m guessing you may have discovered the same thing. I want to be a good role model for my children when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, so this is an area where I need to be better.
It is not that I, nor you for that matter, don’t know the benefits of being physically active or understand the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. My struggle is finding the time to include physical activity in my day, consistently. I’m going to share a few of my ideas for adding physical activity into my day. I’m hoping that by typing them out, hitting post and sending them out into the world for all of you to see, I will hold myself accountable. I’m also hoping that it will encourage you to share your ideas with me, because I would love to hear them.
- Wear a Fitbit. I noticed when I first got my Fitbit I checked it constantly. I wanted to know how many steps I had taken and I wanted to walk the recommended average number of steps per day. I freely admit that I am Type A personality—competitive and goal-oriented–so the thought of being less than average (even if only in number of steps) just didn’t cut it for me.
- Practice with your children, or even help coach their sports team. My daughters’ coaches have always been appreciative of an extra set of hands. This year I was asked to help coach my oldest daughter’s competitive softball team. At first I thought, ‘I’m not sure I have time for this.’ However, I’m at every practice and game anyway, so I might as well participate. It has been a great experience for me, and as a perk for at least an hour twice every week, I am doing something physical.
- Plan a physical activity while the children are at practice. This may sound a little like the last idea. However, sometimes I find myself in a position where I cannot help coach. For example, last fall, two of my daughters played soccer. I have never played soccer and know nothing about it, so I would have really just been in the way. On several occasions, I planned to walk around the soccer fields during their practice. I was able to keep my eyes on my girls, they felt as though I was present and I was able to squeeze in 45 minutes to an hour of walking.
- Workout on the playground. You don’t need a full scale gym to have a great workout. While your children are playing on your local playground, take advantage of the free equipment available. If you are on Pinterest, there are several boards and pins dedicated to playground workouts to give you some ideas. I also Googled playground workouts and found several suggestions that I am excited to try.
These are just a few of the ideas that I had for increasing my physical activity. I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas for holding yourself accountable while juggling a busy schedule.
About the author: Kelli Holland is the manager of communications and education for the UM System Total Rewards department. Kelli has 10 years of experience in higher education, Human Resources (both corporate and higher education), and employee communications.