You always have the best of intentions. You go to bed at night thinking: “tomorrow is the day! I WILL start exercising!” And the next day rolls around, and after a few hits of the snooze button, 3 loads of laundry, a round of dishes, more diaper changes than you care to count, chaotic children, housework, grocery shopping, toddler wrangling, likely more diapers, nap time, dinnertime, bath time, bedtime… before you know it, your day is over, and you never did get in that workout. And the cycle continues, day after day. Sound familiar?
Time to break the cycle.
In my last post, Make Time, Not Excuses, we discussed WHY you need to workout, and how the “I’m a busy mom” excuse doesn’t fly around these parts. In fact, “mom” is all the more reason you SHOULD workout. Today, I present to you a few ways to squeeze the exercise into your busy life.
The dreaded early morning workout:
Let’s face it. *most* of us are not morning people, and if we ever were, sleepless nights with newborn babies or preschoolers who have nightmares/need a drink of water/midnight potty trips tend to change that pretty quickly. Parents savor any second of sleep they can squeeze in. So I can almost feel the looks of contempt burning a hole through me as I dare suggest you wake up early enough to squeeze in a 5:00 am workout.
But you should.
Yes, it’s hard to get up early. But think of it this way: you get uninterrupted workout time AND then you can hold your head up high and continue the rest of the day knowing you’ve already gotten in your daily exercise. It almost makes you feel like a superhero. And you may not believe me now, but the 4:45a.m. alarm? It does get easier. There really is no better way to start your day!
No matter what your children’s ages…you can find a way to workout WITH them. From infant yoga & pee-wee pilates on up, this can be fun for both of you. When my children were babies, I would put them in their bouncy chair right in sight of the treadmill. (You know that trick for getting your babies to sleep with the lull of the sound of the vacuum? It works with the treadmill too!). The same could be said for the jogging stroller. A wonderful investment (check craigslist or your local consignment shop for some of the higher end models at a fraction of the price), a jogging stroller gives you freedom to log miles as well as the opportunity for your babies to get some fresh air. Prefer company? Group exercise programs for moms with babies in strollers are becoming increasingly popular and can be found in almost any city or gym!
As my boys got older, they enjoyed (and still do) “doing” home DVD’s with me. Give them their own mat, and “pretend” dumbbells (creative moms…duplo lego blocks work awesome for this purpose) and let them join in on the fun. And the playground! The playground is a plyometrics heaven, a gym in disguise! Pushups, pullups, tricep dips, plyo jumps, the possibilities are endless (Check out youtube videos like this one for ideas!) Bring them to the track and let them run with you (while being respectful to others who may be putting in workouts as well) Heck, when in doubt, USE your kids as weights. Mine think it’s hilarious and beg me to shoulder “squat” them all the time
Are your kids older? Have them ride their bikes beside you as you run a few miles around the neighborhood. Get in some serious cross training in a game of soccer or basketball. Set up a backyard obstacle course and have a family competition. Or, sign them up for their first race! They are never too young, race organizers are making events more family friendly all of the time.
It’s not all or nothing:
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, via 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week or 20-60 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise three days a week. But, the latest research suggests that multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes are acceptable in obtaining the daily workouts.
So, what does that mean? Squeeze in ten minutes throughout the day wherever you can. Ten minutes is better than no minutes. An episode of The Backyardigans. Nap time. Snack time. You get the idea! If you have time to facebook or read this blog, you have time to put in a round of burpees and squats. I’m just saying…
MAKE the time.
Perhaps you want to sleep in. Perhaps you don’t want your kids around (hey, I get it). Then make your solo workout time a priority. Schedule it into your day just as you would lunch, a work meeting, or brushing your teeth. It is a non-negotiable obligation that others in your life MUST respect. As we mentioned in the last post, just because YOU are mom, does not mean your wants and needs must always be at the bottom of the totem pole. Set a great example for your children by showing them that not only is your health a priority, but you as a women respect yourself enough to make YOURSELF a priority as well.
Because, never forget…YOU ARE WORTH IT!
“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu