Moms are probably the best multi-taskers around. We can talk on the phone while making dinner and rotating the laundry. We think nothing of supervising homework while putting together a snack and sorting the mail. But the one thing that moms seem to have trouble fitting into their jam-packed days is exercise. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because when we work out, we feel like we’re taking time away from the family.
Here are ten simple and effective ways to incorporate guilt-free exercise into your daily routine.
The very first thing to do is change your attitude. Don’t think of working out as a break from the family, but rather a necessity, like brushing your teeth. Remember that when you work out you feel stronger and more capable of handling whatever comes your way (and that can only benefit the family!).
Don’t tell yourself you’ll lose 50 lbs. in 2 weeks because you’ll be discouraged when it doesn’t happen. Set realistic goals and celebrate when you reach them. How about aiming to do 20 pushups or train for a 5K race? Figure out what you need to realize your goals and go for it.
Put on your workout gear first thing in the morning as a reminder to exercise before the day slips away. Many moms shoot to finish their routines before the kids wake up. And what’s your reward for working out so early? A feeling of accomplishment plus a refreshing shower that propels you into your day.
Treat your workouts like important appointments. Mark in your calendar when you’ll be exercising and keep to your schedule. Tell yourself and your family that this time is necessary and non-negotiable.
For exercise you need to wear something that’s comfortable and stretchy and OK to sweat in. The more you stress about how you look, the more time you have to dream up excuses to skip your workout.
If you plan and prep meals, you’ll have more time to fold into your workouts. What’s more, you’ll feel organized and one step ahead when the veggies are already chopped, the meat is marinated and the lettuce is washed. To streamline mealtime even more, get help from The Kitchen Professor who knows first hand about the most useful culinary items out there.
Have the kids join your cause! Maybe you can jog with your kids on the weekends or get a family membership to a local pool, or pack them up and go for a hike. It’s win-win because you can work out while spending quality time with loved ones.
Look for a group of like-minded mamas at your local gym or on a community website. When you hook up with others you can share goals and discuss any obstacles that stand in your way. While a support system will hold you accountable for your workouts, it will also be the first to celebrate your accomplishments.
You can work out just as hard at home as in a gym. Investing in free weights and a yoga mat is a good idea, but you can always make due with whatever you have (for example, use a towel as a mat). There are loads of home exercise videos available online and on demand, so there’s truly no excuse not to get your sweat on!
Don’t have time to clean the house and work out? Turn your chores into exercises! Stretch your legs into lunges when you vacuum or do deep knee bends when picking up toys from the floor. While dusting, take 3 minutes to do a set of calf raises or stretch from side to side. Without doubt, this is when your multitasking skills will come in handy.
Talk about your workouts and your fitness aspirations. Post your goals on the fridge
and update your family and friends on your progress. Keep your workout calendar visible to remind everyone that you won’t be available during certain time slots while you’re exercising.
The last thing you want to do is be too hard on yourself. Know that there will be good days and not-so-good days. Take each day as it comes and be proud of what you’ve achieved.
Healthy is Happy
In our opinion, a healthy, fit mom equals a happy family. By following the tips above, even the busiest mom should be able to find the time – and the right mindset – to exercise on a regular basis.
Sam spent most of her childhood in the family kitchen, watching her mother and father prepare traditional Greek dishes. By the time she was 8 she could make spanakopita with her eyes closed. She blogs over at The Kitchen Professor. When she’s not prepping meals for her kids, she loves to try out new recipes, cookware and kitchen utensils.