Let’s just put it out there. We know that being a mum is a full-time job and that it can be difficult to prioritise your fitness when you’re juggling little ones and running on minimal sleep. Sometimes you barely have a moment to wash your hair, and let’s face it, you rarely get to go to the loo in peace.
So, hitting the gym? It’s out of the question. Right?
We aren’t here telling you how to live your life. You do you. But if fitness is on your wish-list, these practical tips may help you to get moving and achieve your fitness goals, sooner rather than you’d hoped.
- Keep your work-outs short and sweet
We know you’re busy, but the good news is that improving your fitness doesn’t have to involve spending hours in the gym. Work with the time you have available. A minimum of thirty minutes a day is ideal, but if you don’t have a half-hour time block, break it down into three, ten-minute mini-workouts spread across your day. Set an alarm, or listen to a ten-minute podcast or music playlist, to keep your timing in check.
- Incorporate incidental exercise
Exercise doesn’t always have to be planned and there are lots of different ways you can increase your movement, without scheduling a work-out. This could include parking at the opposite end of the car park when you go grocery shopping, taking the stairs instead of the lift, gardening, or even just hanging your clothes on the line instead of using a clothes dryer. If there’s a more active option, choose it, for an easy way to improve your fitness.
- Fit exercise into your current lifestyle
You may have heard that cliché tip about doing squats during the ad breaks when you’re watching TV at night. Cliché as it might seem, it does work! Don’t watch TV? No problem. Give it a try when you’re on the phone. March on the spot while you are drying your dishes after dinner or while you’re brushing your teeth. Chuck in a couple of push-ups when you are tying your shoes in the morning or skip to the post box instead of walking. Your neighbours might look at you oddly, but it’s free exercise, so it’s totally worth it.
- Involve your kids in your fitness plan
This is where things get really fun. If you have a baby or toddler, you have a weight. We’ve seen mums bringing their babies to personal training sessions and using them as a weight instead of a medicine ball or dumb-bell. Of course, there are more safety considerations and we aren’t recommending you do anything too crazy, but think outside the square. If your children are a little older, they might want to get involved in your training and again, as long as you are being safe, we believe that it’s never too early to start learning about exercise.
- Utilise your support networks
Do you have relatives that live locally, who might be able to mind your kids while you head to a group fitness class or go for a walk? Perhaps you have other mum friends who are also interested in upping their fitness ante, and you could take turns to look after each other’s children, so you can fit in a work-out? If not, you might want to see if there are any gyms or fitness clubs near your home, that have in-house child-minding facilities. We know this isn’t always possible, but as the saying goes, “It takes a village”. Use your support networks – that’s what they are there for.
- Make the commitment to yourself
There are so many reasons that we recommend improving your fitness. It can help you relax, it is great for your mental health and of course, it is incredibly beneficial for your physical health, too. Aside from all that though, if fitness is important to you, you need to make the commitment. Not just a commitment to exercise, but a commitment to yourself, that you will follow through on your plans, actively pursue your goals and do something for yourself. We know, it can sometimes seem counter-intuitive, especially when you have a lot on. But making the commitment to improve your fitness can spur a huge mindset shift and can make an impact on so many other areas of your life.
Fitness doesn’t have to be difficult and in truth, you can fit it into your life, even if you can only spare a few minutes a day. Have any of our tips motivated you to take the first step on your fitness journey? We would love to hear about it – please let us know which ideas are your favourite!