How Busy Moms can Fit in Exercise
It’s tough to find time for exercise when you have kids. Here are 8 tips to help you squeeze in some exercise time into your busy day.
by Jennifer Barling
First off, let me start by saying that I am NOT a an expert on fitness — I’m “just” a mom, and not a particularly fit one at that. But, even though I’m not an expert on exercising, perhaps I am an expert on motherhood — as much as anyone really can be. I mean, I’ve been a mom every day for years, so surely that gives me some sort of expertise!
Over the years, I’ve made many attempts to make fitness a priority while juggling the demands of motherhood. I haven’t always been successful with working out, but at least I’ve tried. And who knows – maybe I would be much worse off if I hadn’t. Maybe that 10 pounds I need to lose would be more like 20!
From my personal experiences, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can squeeze in exercise after that most miraculous of things hits you: parenthood!
- Involve your baby. For the most part, babies don’t really care what they do. They just want to spend time with you. They also (usually) love to go for walks, which is a great way for both of you to get some fresh air while you stretch your legs. You can also pop in a workout DVD, lay your infant on the floor next to you, and let him watch you work out. You can even use your baby as an exercise tool – hold your infant while squatting, or lift her for bicep curls!
- Involve your older kids. This is a great way to show your children that exercise is important for a healthy mind and body. Plus, you get to spend time together as a family. It doesn’t have to be a planned, specific time for exercising – just bring a Frisbee the next time you go to the park, or go for a bike ride after dinner.
- Join a gym. If you can afford it (and if you can actually get yourself there!) you may really love working out at a gym. Not only do you have access to great equipment and classes, someone else will watch your kids while you break a sweat. That’s great for your workout and your sanity.
- Start the day ready for exercise. I learned this trick from a woman I interviewed a couple years ago. She’s not only a very involved stay-at-home mom – she’s also a model! When she gets up in the morning, she puts on workout clothes. That way, she’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s a simple, yet brilliant, strategy.
- Find other moms. Having a workout buddy is always helpful, whether you’re lugging a toddler around with you or not. Find another mom who wants to shed a few pounds and help keep each other motivated.
- Fit it in at random moments. You don’t have to have a workout plan, or even do your workout all at once. While your child is busy with a video or some other activity, knock out some sit-ups. After letting your kids play at the mall, do a power-walking lap around the whole place before heading home. Every little bit helps!
- Join a mom-centered fitness program. Here’s another one that’s great if you can afford it – but with this one, your kids gets to join you. A great example is Stroller Strides. A group of ladies head to a park or a mall and push their strollers around, periodically singing songs to the kiddos and stopping for strength-training exercises.
- Finally, cut yourself some slack. Parenting is hard, especially when your child is a baby. (And then later when they’re a toddler, and then later when they’re in school…you get the idea.) It’s never-ending and completely unpredictable. There are going to be times when your best intentions don’t mean squat in the face of a sick baby or a preschooler with nightmares. Just go with the flow, and if a week (or two, or five) goes by without you being able to squeeze in any exercise, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just try and remind yourself that it’s good for you and your kids, and get back to it when you can!
A part-time freelance writer and full-time mother of two, Jennifer Barling is the visionary behind the blog www.morethanmothers.com, which chronicles her adventures in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex as she creates educational adventures for her kids, scrambles to keep up with her energetic husband, and tries to stay organized while doing it all! Jennifer has also written for several local magazines, including FortWorthChild and 360 West Weddings.