One of the things I was most looking forward to about September was increasing my physical activity.
With Rory starting school, spelling the end of preschool runs in the car, it meant I could walk to and from school every day.
But just how active are my days, as a mum of three, walking the school run twice a day? As part of the Parent Miles Challenge, Graco sent me a fitbit so I could track my daily steps, sleep, and exercise, to see how the real results compared to what I predicted in my head. Would there be any surprises?
I do way more steps than I thought around the house
I tend to not think of any time spent at home as exercise. Which, as it turns out, means I was ignoring a huge chunk of time where I am actually pretty active. Watching my fitbit clock up the steps as I roam about the house doing chores showed me that I am far more active than I imagined at home. On an average day, I walk 2km just around the house.
The school run is valuable regular exercise
Our school run is around 12 minutes each way. Meaning I’m clocking up an average of 45 ‘active minutes’ per weekday, without even making a conscious effort to do exercise. It’s difficult to go fast with the children in tow, but I always make sure I pick up the pace on the way home after I’ve dropped them off, to keep my heart rate up.
I get more sleep than I thought
With a co-sleeping toddler, my nights are generally quite restless. I rarely feel like I’ve had a decent, uninterrupted sleep. I predicted that I was getting around 5 hours sleep max, with the rest being periods of restlessness and wakefulness. So I was really surprised to see that on average, I sleep 7 hours each night.
Who is more active – a new parent or an office worker?
As part of the Mum Miles campaign, Graco have put together some research comparing the average day for a new parent against that of a gym-going office worker. Who is getting more exercise?
Research shows that new parents spend an average of nearly eight hours a day on their feet, with nearly a third (30%) spending more than 10 hours on their feet each day. This is equivalent to walking nearly a whole marathon (20.5 miles) each week. In comparison, office workers who regularly hit the gym lead a much more sedentary lifestyle, spending an average of just five hours a day on their feet with nearly half of those polled (46%) spending less than four hours a day up and about.
There’s not much down time to be had with almost two fifths of new parents (39%) only finding time to relax and put their feet up once a week or less. Comparatively, office workers spend on average six hours each day sitting down.
On a normal day, parents can carry up to 6kg so when this is combined with the additional weight of a baby, this tots up to over 17.5kg –the equivalent of lugging around a heavy suitcase! This compares to the 5kgs that an office workers could be carrying around on an average day. In addition, parents carry their little ones for approximately two and a half hours each day with nearly one in seven (13%) spending over four hours each day carrying their bundles of joy. This compares to the average 41 minutes per session an office worker spends lifting weights.
It is not at all surprising to me to see that new parents are on the go a lot more than the average office worker. But fear not, Tanith Carey, life coach and author of Parenting Hacks has some really useful tips to make life easier for parents. I’ve selected some of my favourite of her ‘top life hacks’ below:
Forget bulky handbags which can turn into bottomless pits and get in the way when you’re on the go with a little one. When you’re racking up the miles behind your pushchair, free up your hands by wearing a backpack instead
To give you the ultimate freedom to get out of the house whether you’re on a day-out, shopping, or climbing stairs, choose a lightweight pushchair. At 3.6kg, the Graco Featherweight is about the weight of an average newborn baby, and suitable from birth to 15kgs or approximately three years
Before you head out shopping with your pushchair, make sure you don’t overload yourself by snapping a picture of the inside of your fridge on your phone so you have an instant visual reminder of what you do – and don’t need – to buy. This will save you time and money on unnecessary shopping!
I LOVE the tip about taking a photo of your fridge before going grocery shopping, that’s something I’ve never thought of to do before. I am a big fan of the backpack (or the small crossbody bag for shorter outings) – it makes life with three young children so much easier having my hands free.
Using a lightweight pushchair has made a big difference for us. After discovering it’s brilliance as a travel pushchair, we are still continuing to use our Graco Featherweight in day to day life. It’s the perfect, unobtrusive size to take to Otto’s childminder, it folds so small that she can easily store it in her hallway for the day without it getting in the way.
After using a big travel system for the past few years, I’m really enjoying how freeing it feels to use such a lightweight pushchair.
This post has been written as part of my Generation Graco ambassador role. All opinions are my own.