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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

7 Sly Ways to Sneak in More Exercise

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7 Sly Ways to Sneak in More Exercise

Want to hear the real secret to staying fit as a busy parent? Here are simple ways to stay active during times you wouldn’t usually think to get moving!

Let us whisper a few important clues into your ear. It’s not killer 90-minute boot camp workouts that beat you into sweaty submission. And it’s not starting an extreme diet where all you can spoon into your mouth is cabbage soup, either. It’s actually all the little things you do day in and day out that really add up and influence your overall fit factor! These small bouts of movement you squeeze in throughout the day, and what you and your children eat to fuel your fitness, have a huge impact on your overall health and wellness! Here are my top 7 favorite ways to sneak in some exercise on the sly while you’re simply going about your ordinary activities.

Purposeful playtime

Playing with your kids? Swap stationary playtime (video games, we’re looking at you) and overall screen time for something active! Do bear crawls across the living room or down the hallway, or try setting up an obstacle course. It’s even fun outdoors on a lawn! You’ll work out your gut, shoulders, legs, and butt.

Coordinate with commercials

We all have our guilty pleasure TV shows, so you might as well sneak some fitness in while you’re indulging! Run, march in place, do crunches, or do jumping jacks during commercials. Trust us, this is probably more fun than watching advertisements and unhealthy food marketing!

Keep it balanced

Ditch your couch cushions for a stability ball! Alternate between pelvic tilts, stomach exercises, and simple stretches while you’re glued to the tube. Pick your feet up and see how long you can balance on the ball without falling to the ground!

Develop a lean routine

Transform your everyday activities into a lean, mean, fitness-enhancing routine! Do squats or calf raises while you are brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or folding laundry. Keep track of how many you can do in one minute, and try to beat your record next time!

Stairway to heavenly glutes

Want to firm up those glutes on the fly? Run up the stairs twice before and after you use the bathroom or when you grab a drink from the kitchen. Don’t have stairs? Do 30 seconds of jumping jacks instead or do squat walks on the way to and from the bathroom.

Dishwashing yogi

Do the dishes standing on 1 foot to test your balance. Once you master that, try standing in the yoga “tree” position. Balance poses work smaller muscles that you might not use very often, so they are great to practice on a regular basis!

Sociable stretching

Stretch with your kids while you listen to how their day went. You can even make family stretching part of your before-bed routine, right before teeth are brushed, and hair is combed. It’s a great way to bring the family together and place healthy bodies as a top priority no matter what age.

So when you feel like there’s not enough time in the day to work fitness into your routine, remember all of the small things you can do to feel healthier in a pinch.

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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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