How Busy Moms Make Time For Exercise
After baby arrives, the added job of Mom can spell trouble for your exercise routine. Some moms drop the baby weight naturally, while others struggle, but very few are able to return to the way they exercised before they gave birth. The key to staying active after having baby is flexibility. Just as a diaper bag is your safety kit for anything baby can throw at you, add these strategies to your repertoire of ways to stay active. Remember, your kids will learn from you how important it is to exercise, so be as great an example as you can at showing your child that your health is the most important aspect of living a happy life.
With the Kids
Don't relegate your workouts to naps or bedtime. Working out with your child will teach him or her the importance of staying active. Taking a walk or jog is made easy with a good stroller, but for some moms, a stroller won't solve their workout needs. Find ways to exchange one or two of your workout days to playtime with the kids. Low-impact workout DVDs can be done while infants play in a playpen. You may have to break up the workout as their attention span will only go for so long, but it can be done. If mommy and me classes like swimming are not practical, simply rolling a ball back and forth or bouncing on a pilates ball is better than nothing. Find other ways to play with your kids while doing yoga, pilates, or other body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, and sit-ups with their toys in a baby-proofed room. At 3 to 4 years, most children can learn to jump rope or jump on a junior trampoline. Learn a few jump rope rhymes and games to keep them interested. They can also mimic and communicate well enough at this point to share in your workout a bit. Beyond this age, watching dance music videos can give your kids a good laugh while keeping you both moving. By the time they're around 6 to 8, they can do kids' workout routines available on DVD as well. Of course a sports day each week can help teach them games like tennis, basketball, kickball and the like while getting them outdoors. Incorporate their friends and you may be able to alternate weeks with a fellow Mom to get some alone time.
During Day-to-Day Activities
While you should try to have focused workout time on your own, you may be able to incorporate some moves into daily activities. While cooking, you might try doing ten push-ups on the counter, standing on one leg for 10 to 20 seconds, or doing 30 seconds of arm rotations. You might even chase your child by running or crawling in the living room while you wait for food to finish cooking. Just remember to set the timer so that you check food periodically. While brushing your teeth, walk around or do side lunges instead of standing still. At work, look into converting your desk into a standing desk to avoid sitting all day. Park your car far enough away that you have a built-in five to ten minute walk before and after work. Take advantage of break times and do stairs or ask about having walking meetings. You might also make a few rules that will keep you active. Move your trash can and force yourself to throw away paper across the office, walk to someone's desk instead of email or calling, or set a reminder every hour to walk away from your desk for five minutes.
Downsizing Workout Expectations
If none of these suggestions motivate you, it may be time to downsize your workout expectations. You may no longer be able to get in hour-long workouts at the gym 10 miles from your house or go running at the trail across town. Don't let the drastic changes of motherhood deter you from working out all together. Shorten your workout time or the days of the week you go. Try to start off one day a time. Saturday or Sunday, start your morning with a workout no matter what. Even if it's as simple as walking around the block once or stretching extensively, don't stop exercising. While doing the same workout in the same location may have supported healthy habits before baby, staying active during motherhood means getting it in by any means necessary. That means anytime, anyplace. Try to think of all the possibilities you have, schedule the time to workout, and make plans each week of which will work best depending on your schedule. Of course getting Dad or other friends and family involved is always a best-case scenario, so don't shy away from asking for help.
How do you fit in exercise as a busy Mom?