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6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

When kids enter the picture, it’s easy to let go of things that you hold dear to accommodate the new changes in your life. But that could be a huge mistake. Updating your lifestyle is inevitable, but letting go of the things you love and make you happy is not. These are six things that you should keep doing, even after you have children.

1. Travel

One of the most common regrets I hear among parents of teenagers is “I wish I hadn’t stopped traveling.” Many of us relish the opportunity to country hop, see new places, and experience new cultures. And you don’t have to stop just because you’ve started a family. Albeit, the way you travel, where you travel, and what you do may be different – but this isn’t a reason to stop completely. The best vacation I’ve ever been on was to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada. We trekked, drove, and rafted – all with a three-year old and a three-month old!

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2. Exercise

It’s easy to let go of yourself when you’re chasing after two (or more kids) and holding down a full-time job, but make sure you make time to exercise. Exercising is good for your body and for your mind. It gives so some much needed alone time several days a week and the endorphin rush makes you feel better. With so many things you have to do every day, do this one for yourself. Pick activities you enjoy – sign up for a barre class, or go for a forty-five minute run before or after work. Something that keeps you excited and motivated is key. You’ll be happy you kept it up when your kids are older. When you’re telling them about the importance of exercise, it’s easier to deliver the message when you are modeling the activity.

3. Adult’s Only Vacations

It’s great to travel with kids, but it’s important to take time out for yourself too. Go away (even if just for a day) on your own or with your significant other once a year. Everyone needs a mental break from the daily grind, and that includes the caregiver grind, so do yourself a favor and take a solo or couple’s vacation before you burn out.

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4. Date Nights

It’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your relationship (or the attempt to find one) once there are children in the picture, but don’t. Your significant other needs to see you as their husband or wife, not just as a parent or career person. And if you aren’t coupled up, you can’t meet someone or start a meaningful relationship if every date involves a high chair. So, for your own sake and long-term happiness, keep working on your relationship and don’t cancel those date nights.

5. Hobbies and Personal Interests

Are you a musician? Photographer? Biking enthusiast? Kids or not, don’t let go of the things that make you happy and keep you interesting. It’s easy to let hobbies fall to the wayside once you become a parent, but it’s harder to restart a hobby than to find ways to keep it going – even through paternal leaves or busy times at work. An added bonus? When your kids are older, they may take an interest in your hobby as well and then it will morph from a solitary to a family activity.

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6. Learning

You may be a parent now, but you still don’t know everything. We spend our lives learning new things. And best of all, you have a new teacher – your little one. It’s fascinating to discover the world through the eyes of a child and it’s not an experience you’ll want to miss.

Featured photo credit: Gulliver’s Travels / Mini-DV via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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