Grandparenting can, in some ways, be much more taxing than parenting. Your active parenting days may be over, but you also do not have the energy, stamina or resilience you once had.
That means for you to fully participate in being a grandparent, you’ll have to get back in shape.
The Big 3 of Grandparent Fitness
To keep up with the grandkids, here are the three big things to work on:
- Range of motion
What is the one thing that every grandparent needs to be able to do? Pick up little people, and it’s not like picking up a suitcase or bag of groceries.
Kids are all over the place, so if you want to pick them up safely, you need to be able to squat down, grab them and use your whole body to pick them up.
I can’t tell you how many people struggle with “grandparent back” because they are not able to pick up their grandkids up correctly.
With increased range of motion — whether through foam rolling, stretching, joint mobility work or full-range strength movement — you will be able to do more and stay safe while doing it.
Children are much like Energizer Bunnies — they just keep going. And while you want to keep up with them, isn’t it amazing how quickly they can wear you out?
When it comes to grandkids, there are two types of stamina that you need: variety stamina and physical stamina. Variety stamina is the ability to quickly move from one thing to the next without getting worn out.
Most people struggle with this as they age because what do we all love? Routine. And when you have had the same routine for the last 30 years, you lose your ability to quickly adapt and change.
Physical stamina comes from being more active, something that also seems to wane over time.
Find a fitness program that keeps you moving daily and challenges you in different ways. It doesn’t have to change every day, but it should supply some variety so your brain and body adjust to new demands.
You may be thinking that power is something that only elite athletes need. But power is the ability to move and to stop moving quickly.
When, as a grandparent, will you need to move quickly? How about playing tag, playing ball or grabbing that antique vase that’s ready to tumble off the shelf?
When will you need to stop moving quickly? If you’re carrying your grandchild and you trip and need to stop yourself from falling. If the little one darts into the street you need to stop them from going forward.
All these movements require that you act fast or quickly stop something from happening. Some are for fun; some are for safety.
While there are plenty of ways to develop grandparent fitness, the one exercise that helps with range-of-motion, stamina and power is strength training.
If you are a first-time grandparent or will be soon, now is the time to take action. Those grandkids aren’t getting any smaller or less energetic, and you’ll want to keep up with them every step of the way.
Jeff Tomaszewski owns MaxStrength Fitness, which specializes in helping grandparents be the best they can be. Call his office in Willoughby (440-226-8080) or in Westlake (440-835-9090) to request a free consultation, demo workout and two free sessions.