When you’re busy, whether it’s managing your family’s schedules, working outside the home, volunteering, carpooling, or doing all the other tasks that need to be done to keep everyone on the right track, it can be really difficult to fit in a regular time to exercise. Yet, exercise is one of the most important things we, as busy moms, can do to keep ourselves on an even keel both physically and emotionally. So, how can we make it part of our hectic lives?
- Plan for it. Starting with 3 times a week, mark off a half hour of your day for exercise. You can increase your number of workouts as needed, but 3 is an attainable goal to start with. Things to consider: what time is available and what time is realistic. If early morning is the only time available, but you have a hard time getting up in the morning, that time probably won’t work. Challenge yourself to think creatively about available time…you may think 8 to 9 p.m. is not available because that’s your TV time, but could you exercise while watching TV? Or, 5:30 to 6:30 is your child’s baseball practice; instead of sitting and chatting, can you walk around the field 5 or 6 times? After you’ve decided on some possible times, write them down or set them as appointments in your smartphone calendar. Then, when those reminders pop up, don’t ignore them. If you can’t do the exercise routine you planned, try not to let that keep you from exercising at all, just do something active during that time!
- Ask a friend. This can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what exercises a friend might like, or if you don’t want to offend a friend by implying she needs to lose weight. Framing your request as “help me do this” might ease those feelings. When I started trying to fit exercise into my life, I sent out an email with my workout schedule to several friends, saying, “meet me if you can!” This helped motivate me because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone who might show up to workout with me.
- Take advantage of a gym’s daycare. I know that sometimes a gym’s daycare might not seem like the best trained childcare staff. However, your children will be ok if left in the daycare room for a half hour, I promise. If you want or need a gym environment to motivate you to workout, find one that offers childcare and then use it.
- Start easy. What’s easy? Walking. Start with that, walking for 30 minutes 3 times a week. No special equipment, no cost. Just walk. As you feel more confident and physically fit, you can change up your program and add harder exercises, like running, biking, or swimming. If you’re just starting to fit exercise into your life and you want to stick to it, keep it simple and just start walking.
- Do something you enjoy. It’s simple. If you don’t like it, you’re not going stick with it. So, choose an exercise you will look forward to! If you’re walking, make it more enjoyable by walking with a friend, your dog, your kids. Do you like to dance? Try Zumba or an aerobics class. Do you like to be in the water? Try swimming laps or a water aerobics class. Do you like to ride your bike? Try spinning or find a bike club in your area; maybe your kids can even join you as you ride!
- And here’s a bonus suggestion, Treat yourself during that time. Only listen to certain music, book, or podcast while you’re walking. Only watch your favorite show when you’re working out. Have a wonderful smelling shampoo or soap that you only allow yourself to use after a workout. These treats can be the extra motivation you need to get moving!
You can move, and you’ll feel better when you do. Get going! -Suzie