Don’t let parenthood slow you down from accomplishing your health goals

By Cheryl Jacobs

As a recent first-time parent, I understand how challenging it can be to find the time (and energy) to be physically active. Between work, parenting and overall sleep deprivation, staying healthy can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

But, it is possible.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Set realistic goals

As a once active individual, it took a bit to adjust to my new normal. No, I can’t spend my evenings at my favorite spin class or lifting at the gym, but I can find a few days a week to exercise at home. A few minutes is better than none.

Find a friend

Research has shown that people are more likely to engage in physical activity when they have active peers. Grab a coworker and get moving. Use your lunch hour to hit the office gym or just go on a brisk walk.

Incentivize yourself

As a participant in the Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch program, I save $11.90 every month I’m active. That’s $11.90 a month I save to spend on something else that I enjoy. Make sure to treat yourself when you hit your workout milestones.

Take advantage of the office “perks”

At Vitality, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk … literally. In addition to offering all employees a sit-to-stand desk, Vitality also has a trio of treadmill desks so employees can get their steps in while working. Maybe your office doesn’t have the same arrangement, but take advantage where you can. Perhaps your office has a walking club or offers healthy lunch and learns. Don’t be afraid to participate!

Eat as a family

Parents tend to feed their children better than they feed themselves. Of course, we want only the best and most nutritious food for our kids, but why not ourselves too? While it took a few weeks to adjust, my husband and I have grown to enjoy cooking and eating with less salt and oil and more fruits and veggies. Plus, by eating the same foods as a family, my daughter has developed a love of eating.

It takes a tribe

If you’ve got a grandma or a friend willing to watch your tiny tyke for a few hours, use the time to do something active. Even better, make it a date and spend some quality active time with your spouse. What’s better for bonding: rock climbing or sitting quietly in a dark movie theatre? Or, if no sitter is available, take turns and hold each other accountable. During the week, my husband and I switch off our nighttime routine so one of us has the chance to sneak in a quick workout.

Are you an active parent? What do you do to stay healthy? Tweet @VitalityUSA and tell us your best tips and tricks!

Marketing Manager Cheryl Jacobs is the proud mom of two babies: her eight-month-old daughter and eight-year-old dog. She spends her free time chasing after the infant who is chasing after the dog.

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