Is your body ready for grandkids? If you spent a considerable chunk of your youth raising your children, you know how much time, energy, and precious sleep you’ve sacrificed to ensure they were safe, sound, and ready to successfully take on the world. And just as you’re soaking up the joys of being an empty nester, your children share the exciting news that you’re going to be a grandparent!
Many grandparents get to enjoy such perks as lining kids’ pockets with sweet treats, playing, cuddling, and — best of all — handing them back to their parents just in time for the tantrums to kick in. Time with grandchildren also improves mental health, as it’s linked to stronger cognitive skills and enhanced mood. But the physical stress can be considerable for an aging body when you consider the physical demands of lifting and lowering a small child, as well as keeping up with that rambunctious pace.
In order to stay healthy and active as a grandparent, you need joints, muscles, and an immune system that are prepped, primed, and protected. This is especially true at the moment, as many grandparents are helping babysit little ones while their own children are busy working remotely.
For grandparents who are full-time parents to their grandkids, taking time for yourself may seem impossible, but small breaks for fitness can pay off big.
Here are some quick tips to help boost your strength, stamina, and safety while tending to tiny tots:
Getting around germs. Children have a knack for picking their noses and dirty things off the ground. Forget about social distancing for toddlers. For a child, all this might end in a case of the sniffles. But older adults rarely bounce back as quickly from these germs and subsequent illnesses. These steps can reduce your risk of getting sick:
Limit your lifts. It’s easy to forget just how heavy babies and toddlers can be. Not to mention the awkward ways that we lift them from such low places as cribs or strollers. Being mindful that your lifting technique can go a long way in protecting your lower back from injury.
Build your balance. Balance is one of those fitness factors we often undervalue until we experience a fall. As your body matures, a stumble or trip (maybe on a child’s misplaced toy) can have catastrophic consequences that jeopardize not only your safety but your independence, as well. Luckily, improving your overall stability is simple if you have the right toning tools. Here are a few stability-strengthening exercises every grandparent needs:
*Always stand near a sturdy chair or wall for safety and support. For best results, practice these exercises two to three times each week.
Stork stance progression
Around the clock progression