It’s Freaking Hard to find time to work out!
Do you remember your life before you became a mama? I used to work out at the gym 4-5 times a week, then drive home to continue my workout with a 3-5 mile jog around my neighborhood. Aaaaah, those carefree years that you don’t appreciate until they’re gone. Now in my 30s, my husband works two jobs and my toddler only needs about 30 unsupervised seconds to wreak havoc. I’m happy if I can pee alone, much less find time to work out.
Most of us put ourselves last when we become parents. I mean, there are only so many hours in a day, am I right?
The problem is that being a parent requires strength, energy, and a clear and focused mind. And all of those things come from treating your body well.
So how can we make exercise happen in spite of our busy schedules? We have two options. First, we can find more time for ourselves, or second, we can involve our entire family.
find time to work out By finding More Me Time
- Work out while your family’s sleeping. This could mean waking up earlier, or starting your workout after the kids are in bed. When my daughter was just a few months old and not really following a regular schedule yet, my days were too unpredictable to schedule exercise later in the day. So I woke up at 6am most mornings to knock out a 30-minute workout video. Waking up early not your forte? Mine either. I would take pre-workout when my alarm went off. Then my cheap side would be sure to wake up and work out, so that I didn’t waste my pre-workout. Hey, that stuff’s expensive! A solid morning routine could also help to get you up and at ’em!
- Use lunch breaks. If you work outside of your home, you have the glorious pleasure of enjoying a child-free meal. Follow up your meal with a walk around your building, or the surrounding neighborhood. Or sneak in a short workout and shower at the gym. Incorporate your coworkers to make it more fun and help you stick with your routine.
- Give your kids to someone else. This could include taking turns with your spouse while you each sneak in a workout, or trading off childcare with a friend. More and more gyms are also starting to offer free childcare while you work out!
- Don’t fast forward through commercials. Instead, claim those 3-4 minutes as me time! Stretch, jog in place, or do jumping jacks. Or try completing 10 squats, 10 sit-ups, and 10 push-ups before your show returns. Ethan Hull, an exercise physiologist candidate at the University of Pittsburgh assures us, “You don’t need 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day in one continuous bout.” He suggests shooting for 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times throughout your day. Exercising in small bouts can help you avoid burnout and stay motivated!
find time to work out By Involving the Whole Family
- Do a home workout, even with your kids there. I always just assumed you couldn’t work out with young children around, but my sister-in-law proved me wrong. She knocked out 30-minute workout videos with her 1- and 3-year-old in the room with her. They watched and tried their own versions of the routine in the background. When she switched to a dance workout, her 3-year-old critiqued her moves and showed her “the right way” to do it. Your kids might surprise you! Plus, you’ll be setting an example for them of making their health a priority.
- Go for walks together. Make it a part of your routine – a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood after dinner every night. Strap babies into a carrier or push them in a stroller. Walk the dog. If your kid is as painfully slow as mine is on a bike, allow them to ride beside you as you walk. Walking also opens the door to fantastic family conversations!
- Start an active tradition. Growing up, I remember playing basketball in the driveway with my dad and brothers most nights after dinner. You could also throw a football or kick a soccer ball around the yard, or play hide and seek. If you don’t have an outdoor space to play, crank up the music and have a dance party. It doesn’t have to be a daily tradition, but shoot for doing it several times a week. Traditions also help children develop a sense of security and belonging, and promote healthy relationships. Everyone wins!
- Try a kids exercise video together. I was hunting around Beachbody on Demand (where you can stream all Beachbody programs for $99 a year!) and found the cutest kids exercise program – Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club. Yes, the man who created Insanity also created a kids series. With moves like “we’re cool” and “basketball”, and Shaun encouraging the kids, “Say heeeeey!”, it’s so fun to do together with my daughter! I’m not going to chisel out a 6-pack doing Kids Club, but hey, I’m moving and staying active. Amazon is full of other amazing options!
- Sign up for a mommy-and-me class. Most larger cities offer yoga classes for new moms, making babies a part of the routine. You can also find walking/jogging stroller groups. Bonus: you might make a new friend!
- Take an all-ages class together. Chelsea D. enjoyed taking an all-ages martial arts class with her two daughters. She shares, “I really enjoyed attending the parent/child martial arts class. My kids and I bonded in a unique way. We were no longer just mother/daughter…we were peers with the same instructor, learning the same things together. So I was able to model for them what it means to follow your instructor, practice extra hard for the upcoming belt test, or give my all in class. They watched me try my best and it inspired them to do the same. I was no longer being the mother who was ‘telling’ them what to do, I was demonstrating it for them. We could laugh about the silly things that happened in class and whine about the struggle together, and got to celebrate each other’s achievements as we each earned new belts and medals. We were in it together and that made it so much fun. It was such a positive experience and I would highly recommend it to other moms.” I’ve also spotted lots of mother-daughter duos in Zumba classes. Even if a class isn’t advertised as “all-ages”, chances are good that most instructors would be more than happy to see your kids join you. (Plan on paying for them to join you, of course.) Find a class that you’re both interested in, and give it a whirl!
Wrap It Up
Being parents doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed time for ourselves or our health anymore. It just means we have to be a little more creative about it. You can find time to work out by finding more me time to go it alone, or including your entire family.
Have you found a clever way to sneak in workouts? Or a fun way to stay active as a family? Share in the comments!
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