As women and mothers, we place many expectations upon ourselves, including pressure to exercise frequently, whether it be because we think we should or we want to.
However, unlike before children when we just had ourselves to worry about, we now have small humans to care for, a house to manage and many of us still have a job to go to. So, as a result, our needs and wants go to the bottom of the priority list. Sound familiar?
And whether you have a partner who is on the parent journey with you, or you are juggling motherhood solo, it’s not surprising that we often feel overwhelmed when thinking about where to fit exercise in on a regular basis.
So, how do we find time to exercise with all these other demands on our time? Before we even begin it’s a good idea to be fluid with terms such as exercise / training / workout and movement – a body in motion is heading in the right direction (however that actually happens!).
- First things first
Get your exercise in before the day gets started.
Though it can be a little challenging, especially if you’re not a morning person, first thing in the morning really is the best opportunity to find time for you. Before the kids are up, when the house is quiet and, for many, there is another adult in the house, which gives you at least 20 minutes. It is a morning ritual I have had for years, and I always notice when I don’t take this time for me.
Lay out your clothes the night before – even in the room you have to work out in so you don’t wake up the family. And have a plan about what you are going to do – maybe it’s yoga or mobility or you are on a treadmill or following an app based workout. Whatever it is, decide the night before so you don’t waste time in the morning.
- Schedule it!
Let’s be honest – if it’s in the calendar it happens right?
Every activity you do with your child is scheduled so it happens, so make sure you also put YOUR exercise time in the calendar and make it non-negotiable.
And, once it’s scheduled, plan it so you know exactly what you are going to do without wasting time.
Think you don’t have 30 minutes available a few times a week for you? Well, it may be time for a ‘time audit’. How much time do you spend scrolling through your social media, or cleaning when the house isn’t dirty? Have a think about things you do daily that you could spend time moving your body!
- Make Any Space A Workout Space
Ok, so you’re not able to get to the gym or an exercise class due to your crazy life. However, one thing the last few years have taught us is that you don’t need to get to a gym or have fancy equipment to workout.
We can get a great workout done at home without much equipment or much time. A 20-minute online yoga class, a 15-minute HIIT workout, a 10-minute dance around the house with the kids or climbing the stairs to get that cardio burst!
- Take a “RUNch”
When you’ve returned to work, fitting exercise into an already full schedule is definitely a challenge. However, make the most of the time you get for a break and move during your lunch break.
You may not be ready to run (or running isn’t your thing) but a brisk walk, even if it’s only 15 minutes, will get the heart pumping, the endorphins flowing and improve your mental wellbeing.
- Include Your Kids
For many mums, finding dedicated alone time can be a challenge. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get that body of yours moving!
There are many mums and bubs fitness classes out there, like those run by our MumSafe™️ trainers, that welcome your children too.
How many of our little ones just want to do everything mum does? We see this all the time at our sessions, so get them involved in your workout!
And, what about your local playground? Rather than sitting on the sidelines watching, get involved and move with them.
Then there’s popping them in the pram and get moving outdoors. Stimulation for the little one, movement for you and fresh air for everyone!
You think that this won’t possibly work for your kids? Then what about sweetening the deal, with promising a trip to the playground after your workout, or some time doing an activity with them.
- Be A Movement Ninja
I get it, often mums are short on time so it’s crucial to find those opportunities of time to move.
Why don’t you make the day care or school commute an active one and walk (if you take the dog, it also ticks the box for walking the dog as well – winning!)
While they are eating, fit in 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises OR if they have a favourite show they like to watch, take those 20 mins on the cross-trainer or treadmill.
Are your little ones still having a nap? Take 30 minutes to do an online workout or YouTube yoga practice.
- Manage Your Expectations
The fact is, life happens – kids get sick, work gets busy, our partners sometimes work long hours, and the grandparents take off in the caravan. So, sometimes we have to adjust how we fit in time for ourselves to feel energised, strong and happy in our bodies.
As your child grows, and their routines change, let your exercise choices, routines and expectations be flexible.
Remember some movement is better than no movement.
Fitting fitness into a busy schedule is hard and exercise is often the first thing to get scratched from the calendar. But, with a little forethought and planning, it’s possible. I always say to my clients, where there’s a will you can always find a way.
You are just as important as anyone in your family, and your health and wellbeing should be a priority. I just don’t allow myself to think of my health and wellbeing as a secondary priority. When Mummy’s happy, healthy, and feeling energised, the home is a much happier and calmer place to be for everyone.