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Prioritising exercise as the kids get older

Prioritising exercise as the kids get older

The kids are growing up and you are working more, the question is, where does prioritising exercise fit in?

Finding time to ensure you’re prioritising exercise or being active as a mum is always the million-dollar question. It’s hard enough finding time when the kids are little but what happens as the kids get older?

Generally, mums start taking on more hours at work, the housework doesn’t stop (it actually increases) and then there are the kids’ activities on top of that! Not to mention casual jobs and friends to catch up with. Being a big kid or teenager is busy work. Being the parent of a big kid or teenager can be even busier!

I can tell you from experience that life just ramps up a notch when the kids are older. My children are 17 (no drivers licence), 14, 13 and 10 years old, they aren’t over scheduled but due to the sheer volume of them, (base it on one or two activities per child, per week), add in my own work commitments, feeding them and keeping up with the endless amounts of washing, well time really is tight.

AND “Mum’s Taxi” is no joke!
So, what’s the solution I hear you ask?
How do you find time to exercise?

Firstly, let’s just adjust how we think here for a moment.

The notion “finding time to exercise” really doesn’t exist because time is not there to find. You must MAKE time. That’s right, just as you meticulously schedule your children’s activities you need to schedule your own. It will never happen otherwise (I know this firsthand). I’m pretty sure that you have been throwing your needs to the bottom of the pile for a while now, so let not continue doing so.

Here are my top tips to maintaining consistency with and prioritising exercise as they get older:

  • Be organised.
  • Schedule your exercise. It’s non-negotiable.
  • Challenge yourself by entering a competition, a fun run, committing to a team sport etc. Giving yourself a goal can be great motivation.
  • Be an early riser and get moving while the kids are still asleep. This one took me quite a few years to master (after many sleepless nights with my four children) but once your kids are sleeping all night then then really is no reason why you can’t attend a 6am gym class, pilates class, swimming squad or go for a run, bike ride or walk.
  • Grab a friend! It’s so much more fun exercising with mates. It also keeps you accountable. No one likes standing up a friend.
  • Opt for convenience. Is there a gym/pilates studio/sport being played near your child’s activity? While your son/daughter is training for hockey can you do a gym class? Can you train for hockey too?
  • Join the kids with their activity. This is a great one. I was spending so much time at my son’s indoor rock-climbing training that instead of sitting there I bought some shoes and joined in. He loves it!
  • Remember that exercise comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to be structured. It can include walking or riding to work and walking the dog. Going mountain bike riding or bushwalking!

I guess the bottom line is that you need to be ruthless (and don’t be afraid to try something new)!

MAKING time for you to be consistently physically active has so many benefits. We know this. Try looking outside the box and remind yourself that it is ok (and essential) to prioritise you and your needs.

Sarah Castley is a MumSafe Trainer for Freedom Fitness

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