Perspective, Priorities And Perspiration: Summer Fitness With Kids At Home

By Jessica Poole, Certified Athletic Trainer

Just Move It, Move It…(cue the Michael Jackson music)

Writing these fitness blog posts are bringing up some good song lyrics. Speaking of, what’s on your summer playlist? Make sure it’s good and loud if you are up at 5 a.m. getting those workouts in before the kids are out of bed.

It’s hard to do, working out with kids in tow for the summer. You have to be creative and have a positive perspective. Today I want to offer you some reminders and some good old fashioned encouragement. So here goes…

Keep perspective.
Some exercise is better than none.

You don’t have to dedicate two hours a day to be healthy. Thirty minutes of cardio gives you some benefit. Three, ten-minute sessions of intense cardio exercise is just as good as 30 minutes of sustained activity. (Debusk, et al.)

Unless you are training for a specific goal, such as a triathlon, 10K or cross fit games, you just need to focus on getting some exercise daily (so, its okay to cut yourself some slack, really-- I promise). If there is anything I’ve learned it’s this. I will never be 21 and a size 4 ever again. I don’t want to be. Being 21 and a size 4 means no kids, less wisdom, no failures and fewer successes. I don’t want to go back there. I’ve heard my children’s laughter and that’s 100 times better than any bikini! So, I exercise to be healthy, to have energy, to prolong my life for those littles, not to look good for others.

(Frankly, others’ opinions of my pants’ size don’t matter. My husband and children and their joy matter.)

I’d also rather snuggle with my little guy than get up and work out. He’s only one once. I’d rather run in the yard and chase them and their soccer balls for 30 minutes than pound the pavement. It’s my season of life now, and fun, joy, happy childhoods, time with my husband and a good attitude (cause I got sleep) are most important these days.

Remember, it’s as important to have a healthy spiritual and mental life as it is a physical life.

Set goals.
Keep your goals in your sights. It does help to get going when you focus on your goals. Right now my goals are to maintain my health, provide my family with a comfortable home, make wonderful memories, maintain my faith relationship with God and make it through the day with joy.

What are your goals?

Spend some time writing them down and focus on how to accomplish these goals within a realistic time frame. As moms with pre-K and school-age children, we are busy. So, I sneak in exercise when I can, usually while the kids are playing outside, or before they get up. Find what works best for you to meet your goals and fit into your day.

Just do it.
I just have to set a priority and get it done. I’m a type A person who is working to learn to relax and “roll with it”. But I am still high strung and type A, so when I set my mind to something, I usually just jump in, suck it up and get it done. The end results are my reward.  I need the results. Heart disease is prevalent on both sides of my family history. So, I get it done. Find what works for you, what you enjoy and get it done.

Involve your kiddos.
Childhood obesity is a real and devastating condition among our youth. Most carry that obesity into adulthood. So get them moving with you. Teach them the importance of having a healthy mental, physical and spiritual state.

If you model activity in front of them and have a positive outlook towards it, then they will share the same philosophy. It is so important to get them moving too.

I hope I have offered you some motivation. So grab your children and have a healthy, fun, movement-filled and safe summer!

Stay healthy my friends

For Jessica’s previous posts about fitness, use the blog’s search box, above on the right, and type in Jessica Poole.  To learn more about Gwinnett Medical Center’s complete sports medicine program, including our Running Clinic, visit

Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., ... & Swain, D. P. (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(7), 1334-1359.

DeBusk, R. F., Stenestrand, U., Sheehan, M., & Haskell, W. L. (1990). Training effects of long versus short bouts of exercise in healthy subjects. The American journal of cardiology, 65(15), 1010-1013.


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