Making the most of the school run

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a mother in possession of school-age children must expect the daily gauntlet of the school run.”

However, it’s also a good way to squeeze in some fitness at the same time, from a quick run to a full workout. The key is to up your heart rate, rather than focusing on speed or distance.

1# If you can walk from home, you can fit in a short run. I tend to get my toddler to call out “stop” and “go” as a race between obstacles with the pushchair as a form of interval training. I also vary the walk to add in a hill section and burn a few more calories.

2#If you do need to drive, allow five extra minutes and park two streets away. Some schools operate a “park and Stride” system – and it’s a lot more relaxing than fighting for space near the school gates. You can also make it a game with your reluctant kid to “race” to the school. If you are picking up after work, just keep your running shoes in the front, for a brisk speedwalk.

3# Scoot it. Who says kids should have all the fun? Depending on how old your children are, you could use a three-wheeled scooter (for stability) alongside your older child.

4# So, you are in the playground, waiting for your kid. I personally struggle to stay still, unless I find someone to talk to. I have walked around the playground, chased the toddler and taken a skipping rope for the 10-minute-a-day skips challenge. (The skipping rope did backfire, somewhat, as my kids insisted on me towing them back to the house).

5# If in doubt, go to the park. You don’t have to go home immediately and this is a great way for kids to unwind without screen time. As long as it’s not tipping down with rain, you can have a lot of fun, from puddle jumping to leaf collecting. Pack an after-school snack and the right gear for quick, refreshing visit. You can do short running loops around the playground, incorporate an Army fitness routine on the spot or take a skipping rope or hoop. You also won’t feel like an idiot – in my cities now, there are green gyms and fitness classes, so everyone will assume you are freestyling it.

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