The ‘taxi mum’ workout

The ‘taxi mum’ workout

Hands up if you’re a mum who spends a decent chunk of time cheering your kids on from the sidelines as they play or train for their favourite sport, not to mention acting as ‘taxi mum’, ferrying them to and from?

I can relate! My children are passionate about their sport and my family’s weekends – not to mention a fair few hours of our weekdays – are spent attending or driving to and from sports games, carnivals, tournaments and training sessions.

And it turns out we’re not alone. According to a report released last year, not only does the average Aussie family spend 287 hours per year transporting children to and from sporting games and training sessions, another 295 hours is spent watching or waiting on the sidelines. Combined, that’s more than 11 hours every week.

You can be sure that, if you find yourself forgoing your own exercise opportunities so that you can spend that time on your kids’ sports, you wouldn’t be the only one. But regular exercise is vital for so many aspects of your health and wellbeing (which you can read more about, here) so it’s important to find time to do something physically active every day.

I know myself that on busy ‘sports days’, finding that time can be more challenging than usual. When my kids have to be somewhere to start their sporting day at 7am, I COULD get up at 5am to squeeze my daily walk in, but sleep is precious!

Thankfully, I’ve discovered a more civilised way to ensure that I still get my dose of daily physical activity, while doing everything I want and need to, to support my kids – and there are two key tips to making it work.

  • TIP #1: Remember that while you need to be there for your kids on these occasions, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything but ‘be there for your kids’. You can often find 30 minutes or an hour – or even a few 10-minute blocks – when your children don’t need you to be standing on the sidelines or sitting in the stands. For example:
    • When your child’s team is warming up before the game or has a bye during a tournament, it’s the perfect opportunity to grab a bit of exercise time for yourself. For a low-intensity option, work out how much time you’ve got to spend, walk in one direction for half that time, turn around and head back. Simple!
    • Or, up the ante by putting a simple park-bench workout together. Choose two exercises for your lower body, such as squats and step ups, and two for your upper body, like push-ups and tricep dips. Alternating between a lower- and upper-body exercise, do all four moves, spending 30-60 seconds on each one. Repeat the ‘circuit’ three, four or five times.
    • Instead of standing still or sitting down while you’re watching a game, make a move by walking around the field or court. It’s a really easy, effective way to build up your daily step count, remembering that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy target to strive for.

Sure, those activities might be different to the type of exercise you do on other days of the week, but every bit counts and there’s no ‘best time’ to exercise – it all adds up! And don’t forget that this type of exercise doesn’t have to be a solo pursuit – consider inviting other parents to join you for company and to bump up the fun factor.

  • TIP #2: Always be prepared to move! I do that by making sure I always have a pair of trainers in the boot of my car. They live there. That way, when the opportunity arises to go for a walk when my kids are playing sport, I can grab it. I never worry about changing into workout or walking gear – whatever I’m wearing, paired with my trainers, works fine. It is important though, to wear a pair of trainers that are supportive and haven’t past their ‘use by date’. You can read about how to tell when it’s time to buy a new pair, here.

So. Ask yourself: how will you find a bit of ‘movement time’ for yourself, the next time your child’s doing their thing on the court or field? By incorporating your exercise time ‘into’ theirs rather than around it, you might just find it’s an easier thing to achieve.