As a busy mom, it can sometimes seem like you can’t even get five minutes of free time for yourself, let alone find time to get in a good workout. From caring for the kids to keeping up with laundry and keeping the house clean, it seems virtually impossible to squeeze in a workout and prepare healthy meals for everyone once you get home from your 8-5 job. And while we wouldn’t trade our kids for the world, it’s important to get some time to spend focusing on yourself.
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 is an achievable and sustainable goal!
Here are my few tips to help you fit exercise into your routine:
Make it Quick: Just because you don’t have time to go to the gym or do a full hour + long workout doesn’t mean you have to entirely skip exercising that day. Just doing 10 minutes of exercise when you can fit it in throughout your day is going to help! When you have a few minutes do some sit-ups or squats, or do a few rounds of jumping-jacks to get your heartrate up. When I’m standing at the stove cooking dinner, I’ll often do some stationary lunges and/or push-ups on the edge of the counter in between stirring & checking the food. It may not seem like much, but even that little amount of exercise is better than none at all, and doing it here & there throughout the day really adds up!
Plan it Out: It’s really hard for me to motivate myself into randomly fitting in a workout, but I find that if I schedule it into my day like I would any other appointment I’m much more likely to hold myself to it. Instead of spending part of your lunchbreak browsing the internet on your phone, use that time to walk a few laps around the building and do some simple bodyweight exercises. Maybe get up just a half-hour earlier than you normally would to squeeze a workout in before the kids get up and you get into full mom mode.
Plan your actual exercises into your schedule so you know exactly what you’re going to do during your workout time. That way, no time is wasted trying to decide what you want to do that day. A plan that has a set a time-frame and exercises makes it much easier to commit to.
Also keep in mind that your workout schedule needs to be sustainable – you don’t want to burn out after just a few weeks. If you know that your kids have after-school activities until late on Monday nights, don’t schedule your Tuesday workout at the crack of dawn when you already know you’re going to be tired and likely not follow through with your workout. If Wednesdays at the office are typically really busy, maybe those aren’t the best days for a lunch time sweat session. Be aware of those things and don’t set yourself up for failure!
Include the Kids: Bring them along on your jogs. Whether it’s in the early mornings or after work in the evenings, strap them in the stroller and head out. Pushing a stroller adds some extra resistance, and you can also pause and do lunges or squats. If your kids are old enough to ride bikes or scooters, use them to set the pace and challenge yourself to keep up with them.
Not only will they help motivate you, it’s great for a little extra bonding time and gets everyone outside. Working out in front of/with your kids also sets a great example for them to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Use the Jungle-gym: When you take the kids to the playground, don’t just sit there and watch them play. Use the playground as your gym! Use the stairs or benches to do some step-ups or box-jumps. Use the monkey bars to join in on the fun while also getting in a great upper-body workout. Get creative and use what’s around you to get in some exercise while your kids are playing!
Plan your Outfit: I prefer to workout in the morning before my son wakes up because I’m notorious for coming up with excuses throughout the day to skip an evening workout. To help myself get out of bed, I lay out my workout gear the night before so I can get up and put them right on instead of shuffling around in the dark trying to find what to wear. Sometimes I’ll even sleep in my shorts or leggings to make it one less step I have to do in the morning!
While it may still seem a little daunting to add yet another thing to your busy schedule, the biggest hurdle is really being dedicated to carving out some time for yourself, your health and for your sanity.
Once you really put scheduling workouts into your life as a priority, it eventually becomes second nature and an easy lifestyle to maintain long-term. Taking time to move your body, even if all you can fit in is one round, is so good not only for you & your mental well-being, but also for your family. Happy + healthy mommy = happy family!