Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fitting in Exercise for the Busy Mom [Fit Mamas Series, Part 2]

There are so many benefits to exercise for moms that it is well worth fitting into even the most full schedule.  But practically speaking, how does that happen?  Especially when you have a colicky baby, a tantruming two year old and energetic four year old all craving your attention every minute of the day?

'Attack of the stroller Moms' photo (c) 2010, Serge Melki - license:

Take lots of walks (especially to places you would normally drive) - I'm all about multi-tasking.  Taking walks is not only useful (because it gets you somewhere) but kiddos can come along with you for this kind of exercise, and usually even enjoy it.  Bonus is that you save money on gas and get to enjoy the great outdoors.  If you have a jogging stroller (and all your kiddos are small enough to fit in the stroller or are following on bikes/scooters) take it up a notch by running a few intervals during the walk.

Mommy Bootcamp/Workout Class - In recent years, I have seen numerous group exercise classes geared towards moms, designed in a way that kids can participate or play during the time.

When we lived in California, I lead such a class.  It was more on the informal side of things, just a group of friends getting together to work out and we did it in my back yard.  This is one of the things I really miss from California!  Not only was it a fun time to hang out with friends, it was also much more motivating to workout when there were other people around, plus the kiddos all enjoyed playing together while us moms exercised.  This would be doable if you could even find just one other mom who would want to work out with you a couple times each week.  If you aren't comfortable making up a workout, you could do a video together or something like Wii Fit.

Another great option is to get other moms together for a weekly group walk or run, depending on your level of fitness.

Write it into your schedule - This works best if you are very schedule/to do list oriented like I am.  For me, if its in my schedule, I will make sure it happens.  That is one way that I have stayed motivated to work out since we moved last month.  

Taking time to plan ahead also ensures that exercise will fit into your day, and won't get forgotten or brushed aside when you don't feel like it.

Trade baby sitting with a friend who would like to workout - This is pretty self explanatory.  The benefit is that this way you have some accountability to working out and your kiddos would have fun playing with friends, but a downside would be that you would probably have a hard time getting more than one or two workouts a week in this way (though you could combine this with other exercise times during the week, like walks).

10 minute workouts - Ten minutes might not sound like a lot, but it can add up.  If nothing else, its a good place to start with working out.  Most moms can find 10 minutes at some point during the day (maybe during nap time) to do a workout.  Later in this series, I will post a few suggested ten minute workouts that you can try at home.

Wake up early - Waking up early is a great way to fit a workout into your day.  Getting it done before the kiddos are awake ensures that nothing will get in the way of your exercise, and allows you to devote the whole rest day to what you normally do.  Bonus is that working out in the morning helps you feel energized throughout the day.  Just make sure not to be too loud so that you don't accidently wake them up!

I know one mom who for her fourth pregnancy decided that she needed to take working out seriously and started waking up a half an hour earlier than normal a few days a week to do so.  She had nothing but great things to say about how it benefitted her life and her pregnancy, in a way that was noticeably different than her other pregnancies (and like I mentioned she was on #4!).

Join a gym with a daycare - I'm not a huge fan of the concept of daycare, but if you have few other options, and you have an outgoing kiddo who likes playing with new friends all the time, this could be a good way to help you get a couple workouts in every week.

Find ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine - I like to do air squats when I have 30-60 seconds of random waiting time during the day (like when Esther is sitting on the potty or I am waiting for my tea water to boil in the morning or while I am brushing my teeth).  Find an exercise that you can do in between (or during) other activities of the day (another idea is calf raises or push-ups against a counter top or table).  It all adds up!

Other ideas include parking your car at the far end of the parking lot so you have to walk longer to get into the store (bonus if you are carrying one or more kiddos!), or playing with your kids, purposely doing something really physical with them to get your heart going.

What are some ways, practically speaking, that you fit workouts into your life as a mom?

[disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, just a mom who likes to be healthy.  Take my words as you would advice from a friend.  Talk to your medical professional before starting any exercise routine.]

Click here for part 3...

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