Staying in shape while a spouse is deployed
May 11, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - Finding time to get exercise can be a challenge under normal circumstances, but if you have children and your spouse is deployed, it can be even tougher.
That's all it is though - a challenge - and it is one parents can easily overcome.
Here are five ways parents can get exercise while their spouse is deployed:
The Wiesbaden Fitness Center has a parent and child workout room where children can play and watch television while a parent works out. The room has four treadmills, five elliptical machines, free weights, a mat area and more, said Dave Sturman, fitness coordinator at the center. "This room is way needed," he said. "If we could expand it, it would be better."
Not only is the room popular with mothers, but with fathers as well, Sturman said. Men who might be reluctant to try it out for fear of being the only guy there should not be concerned.
The room is located on the second floor on the left hand side next to the running track. It is important to note that parents are not allowed to work out with children strapped into strollers next to them, Sturman said.
The fitness center is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturday, Sunday, U.S. holidays and U.S. Army Europe training days from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If your child won't cooperate at the parent and child workout room or you'd prefer to work out without having to keep one eye on a child, there are other options. While babysitters can get expensive, starting a babysitting swap with friends is a possibility. If you live in Army housing, the close proximity of neighbors can make it easy. There are also several websites that can offer advice on how to run a babysitting swap.
Parents with a deployed spouse can qualify for up to 16 hours of free hourly care a month per child, said Farideh Kastens, director of outreach services for Child, Youth and School Services.
After a parent has used the 16 hours for a month, every hour after costs only $2, Kastens said. That is $2 less an hour than the usual rate.
Free hourly care is available for children who are as young as six weeks old or as old as in the fifth grade, Kastens said.
The garrison's Child Development Center is located on Wiesbaden Army Airfield, and the garrison has School Age Centers on both the airfield and in Hainerberg Housing, Kastens said.
To take advantage of the offer, parents must first register with CYSS and make sure a copy of the deployment orders is on file.
The hours can become booked up quickly; however, so Kastens recommends that parents reserve time as far in advance as possible. Parents are able to reserve time up to 30 days in advance, she said.
For parents who want to use the hourly care for workout time, it would be a good idea to figure out set times during the week to work out, every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, for example, and then schedule the hourly time well in advance.
Home gym equipment makes it possible to work out any time that is convenient - before the children wake up in the morning, during naptime or while they're otherwise occupied and within eyesight.
The AAFES sporting goods store on Mainz-Kastel Storage Station has a variety of home gym equipment for sale. Stationary bikes range in price from $299.99 to $999.99; elliptical machines from $399 to $999; treadmills from $499.99 to $899.99, and weight systems from $399 to $199, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Hector Jamili, deputy commander of AAFES Europe.
Be aware, however, that even though the equipment comes boxed, it might not fit in your car. AAFES does have delivery available for a fee. The equipment must also be assembled.
Another factor to keep in mind is safety. Children love to play on treadmills and elliptical machines, but can be easily injured on them, so it is important to keep them in a safe place.
For people who don't want to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a piece of home gym equipment, there are other options. A jump rope, for example, costs $5.99 at the PX sporting goods store and can be done almost anywhere at any time. It also provides a great cardio workout.
In addition, Leander "Lee" Townsend, a fitness specialist at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center, said he would be happy to meet with spouses and talk about exercises they can do at home.
Often, the only pieces of equipment necessary are dumbbells and a chair, Townsend said.
He would prefer to speak to a group of five or more spouses, Townsend said, but he would never turn away a spouse who had questions to ask him.
When it comes to workout videos for the home, Townsend said he can often show spouses a workout routine that would work just as well, but a simple Internet search would bring up plenty of suggestions.
For parents of small children, another way to get exercise at "home" is to simply put the child in a stroller and go for a walk. Running strollers are another way to get a great, inexpensive workout at any time that is convenient.