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  • Writer's pictureAli

How to exercise as a coeliac when you have small children

Exercise. It's usually one of the things we all feel we should be doing more of. But for some reason it often gets sidelined, especially if you've got small children.

Exercising: I'd love to pretend this was me. In fact, I just might.

I've lost count of the number of times I've made excuses for not exercising:

  • "How would I take the children with me?"

  • "There are too many hills in Bristol to go for a run."

  • "The kids will misbehave at the gym."

It wasn't like I didn't try at all. I did go to a postnatal class...until the instructor moved back to The Netherlands and the session was discontinued. But since it was only once a week where half the time I had to stop to rescue my children from doing something they shouldn't, it wasn't exactly the recommended 2 and a half hours a week of moderate to intensive exercise in the NHS guidelines.

But why the guilt? Why bother? Surely running around after toddlers is enough?

We-e-e-ll, not quite. Coeliac UK is keen to prevent osteoporosis as the chances of getting it increase if you're coeliac. Yep, if having to avoid gluten wasn't bad enough, we also have to make sure we keep our bones strong, and upping our calcium intake isn't necessarily enough.

According to NHS guidelines:

Weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis.

So what have I decided to do about it?

Well, if you've been reading my blog posts for a while, you'll know I used to teach aerobics, and during my life I've accumulated over 50 workout dvds. (You'll be relieved to know I've edited them down to a modest 25 or so. "Great Bums!" was possibly a shopping error.)

So I forced myself to dig out a yoga dvd, and my, oh my, has it made life a bit more fun.

Despite a shaky start (two children racing round the room whilst the instructor purred, "Close your eyes and focus on your breathing"), the children have actually come to love doing the dvd with me. My son dashes upstairs to get his leggings on and joins in with positions like Downward Dog and Tree Pose. He's yet to master some of the more complex positions but I'm so impressed by his eagerness and determination. To prove it, here we all are being very well-behaved (for once!):

Exercising with children can be great fun!

As for the baby, she's enthusiastic but less inclined to try anything out. That said, she's becoming more respectful of the yoga mat and has ceased to drive small cars across it whilst I'm attempting Bow Pose, which is a vast improvement from three weeks ago. Who knows what the future will hold? (I promise it won't be matching outfits. But it will involve more exercise, and that can only be a good thing.)

If you want to know more about the prevention of osteoporosis, click here for Coeliac UK's recommendations.

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