Shaping Up To Be a Grandparent
If you’re expecting to be a grandparent soon, and you already have a fitness routine in place, you’re ahead of the game. Grandparenting today is more than just baking cookies and reading stories; you’re going to be expected to keep up with these little guys and if you have been spending more time eating cookies and reading books by yourself than working out, you’re going to need to shake things up to shape things up before the new bundle of joy arrives.
There are a few core skills which can get you through the early stages of grandparenting, when the babies and toddlers are literally keeping you on your toes and off your butt.
Balance: The care that you took when carrying your own children will pale in comparison to carting your precious grandchild down the stairs or even across the room. Imagine dropping someone else’s baby; you’ll be lucky to have permission to have baby sit on your lap, in a car seat, let alone carry them across the park to a swing. The solution: Yoga. Yoga is all about balance, and even beginners can start to master the tree pose or a simple warrior position. And that’s what you’ll be, a Warrior Grandparent ready to take on the most uneven of surfaces, or toy obstacle course your grandchild themselves will create for you in your family room.
Leg Strength: Lift from your legs, not your back. We all know this. And it will be relevant not only in the lifting of the baby, but in all of the equipment that comes with a small baby. Strollers, playpens, high chairs, car seats, not to mention pulling said baby in and out of those accoutrements. You’ll need to build those quadriceps, and not a moment too soon. The solution: Squats. Either with or without weights, deep squats, sumo squats, moving squats, squat holds – these will all be required training.
Leg Agility: Picture that granddaughter or grandson in your dining room (yes of course you let them in there, they’re your grandchildren, not your actual children). Then picture them reaching up and pulling on the tablecloth, where your fine china starts its slow descent towards their heads, and that hardwood floor. You’ll need to move quickly and expertly without pulling a muscle in order to get there in time. The solution: Lunges. Staggered lunges, walking lunges, jumping lunges, lunge squats, it’s all there to make sure you can save your dishes and your darlings.
Arm Strength: The more we feed them, the heavier they get. My 14-month-old grandson weighs 25 pounds. Luckily, I’ve been doing bicep curls for many years, but I normally only do 15 pounds in each arm, so he is quickly outgrowing my ability to keep him safe in my one arm while I stir the soup, put away the groceries, fold the laundry, or let’s be honest, scroll through my phone. Any multitasking parent or grandparent knows that you need to develop your one arm strength in order to get absolutely anything done. The solution: bicep curls, front rows, triceps pushbacks, push ups, whatever it takes to get those arms in tiptop shape for your top-heavy little friend.
Endurance: We all remember pacing the floors with a screaming baby the first time around. Even with all the changes Millennial parents have introduced to the world of raising baby, the babies still haven’t gotten the memo that sometimes they just want to be held, and walked around. Daytime, nighttime, anytime they want. “Up up up” is still the chant we hear, even when our energy levels are down, down down. Start a walking or running routine so your legs can, like a certain battery powered bunny, keep going and going and going.
Think being a grandparent was literally going to be a walk in the park? Think again. It’s more like a marathon of movement, muscles and making sure you survive.