Life is crazy right now. We have a 5 year old, a 2 year old, a 2 month old, all on summer break and a husband who is recovering from a spine fracture from a motor vehicle accident. All that and in less than a week my maternity leave will end and I will be returning to work.
It might seem impossible to fit in exercise around breastfeeding and pumping and playing with the kids and helping my husband who can't bend or twist or lift. But I'm making it happen.
You may be thinking that this would be a legit time to take a break from exercise with all the drama going on. But exercise in fact helps me deal with the drama. It helps me let off steam, makes me feel motivated, and clears my mind. Check out this post to learn about even more benefits of exercise.
Below are 15 ways I am using to fit exercise into my day even during this crazy time.
1. Wake Up Early
I don't mean crazy early. You don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Just get up 30 minutes earlier that you normally would. This extra time in the morning before the kids get up is the perfect time to get in a good workout.
Maybe you are already getting up earlier than the kids, but are just taking your time to slowly get ready for the day. You may find that working out will allow you to get yourself ready more efficiently and you won't need to get up a whole half hour earlier. Morning exercise can help clear your brain and start your day with energy and efficiency.
2. Have a Plan
If you wake up and then try to figure out what you are going to do for exercise that day, you are already wasting precious morning time. Instead, plan your exercise for the day ahead of time.
Know what exercise class you are going to do or what DVD you are going to follow. Write out the weight lifting routine ahead of time. Make it easy to just jump in and workout. This is something you can plan in those little stolen moments of the day like when you are waiting for the microwave to heat something up or waiting for your toddler to go potty.
3. Take a Walk
Walking is great exercise and we are naturally made to do it! Humans have been walking for thousands of years. It was THE way to get around.
Need just an item or two? Walk to the local store. Take the kids for a walk to the local park or playground. Or just walk around the block and point out the things you see. Make a scavenger hunt for things to find on your walk.
Even a 5 minute walk can have amazing benefits for your body. Plus, if you make it fun, you can entertain the kids at the same time.
4. Exercise While You Watch
Instead of just vegging out in front of the tv, use this time to work out. You can do some cardio on the treadmill of elliptical, or do some ab work on a yoga ball. You can lift weights during the show and then do some quick bursts of cardio during commercials like jumping jacks or running the stairs.
Being an active watcher can help you stay fit and entertained all at the same time. A 30 minute sitcom means you get in a 30 minute workout while you enjoy a good laugh.
5. Play with the Kids
Kids don't stop moving, especially young kids. Spend some time doing what they do. Run around, climb, play tag, play follow the leader. Your kids will love that you are playing with them and you will get active at the same time.
Sometimes we to push off playing with our kids, like really playing with them because we tell ourselves we have so much to do. Instead if we tell ourselves that playing with the kids is our workout, we have an excuse to let loose and have fun.
6. Make it a Date
Get healthy with your spouse and have an exercise date. Head out to the gym and get your workout on together. Take a cycling class or a dance class or go on a hike. Finish off with a healthy meal or relax in the sauna. You might even go for a couple's massage.
Staying healthy together is a great way to strengthen your relationship (pun intended). You may even choose to finish off your workout date with some bedroom exercises!
7. Do 5 Minute Workouts
We're all busy, but you can find 5 minutes somewhere in your day. Take just 5 minutes to walk or do squats or some simple body weight exercises.
Even if that is the only exercise you do for the day, that's 5 minutes of being active that you otherwise wouldn't have done. If you are able to find multiple 5 minute windows, you can end up with a full length workout by the end of the day.
8. Do Active Socialization
Instead of meeting up with the girls for brunch, meet at a yoga class. Make your walk a social experience with a neighbor. Put the kids in a stroller and have a nice chat.
Your friends probably have as much difficulty fitting in fitness as you do, so get it done together!
9. Make it Part of Your Day
While picking up toys, towels and trash off the floor, increase your glute and leg strength by doing squats instead of bending at the waist. You can do calf raises whenever you're standing at the counter or stove, or when you're changing a diaper.
Whenever you pick up the baby, throw in a few overhead lifts. you'll get a workout and your baby will enjoy it too!
10. Find Something You Enjoy
When working out is a chore no one would want to make time for it. When you have free time, you want to do the things that you enjoy. So find a workout you enjoy.
Shoot baskets if you like that, or go swimming. Take a Zumba class or go rollerskating. Find something that is active that you enjoy and make that be your exercise. Bonus is that not only will you be fitter, but you will be happier as well.
11. Wear a Pedometer
Some phones have a built in pedometer or you can buy one. You can use a fitness tracker like a Fitbit and work on increasing your number of steps.
I love how various apps gamify fitness. Challenge your friends to see who can take the most steps each week or each day. When you are conscious of the number of steps you are taking you tend to take more which will help keep your body active.
12. Be a DIYer
Instead of using a leaf blower, rake the leaves. Push the lawnmower, shovel the snow. Hang laundry outside. Get up to change the channel.
You might not be able to do these things all of the time, but by actually doing the work you are able to maintain your home and get exercise at the same time.
13. Use your Phone Time
Instead of just sitting and chatting when on the phone, make this your walking time. Walk during that conference call or while you catch up with mom. As long as you have goof reception, you an walk whenever you're on the phone.
It's helpful to have a good headset for your walk and talks. It's also important to be aware of your surroundings. You don't want to be so involved in your conversation that you forget about traffic or other people.
14. Change Your Mindset
When we tell ourselves there is no time, we don't try to find it. When we tell ourselves that low energy is inevitable for moms, we don't try to change it. In order to make time for health and fitness, we have to change our mindset.
Start making an effort to thinking positively about yourself and your health. So, anytime you catch yourself thinking, “I have no time to work out,” rephrase the thought in more positive, empowering terms, such as, “I choose to make myself a priority.” Or, “I do have time to be healthy.”
15. Delegate and Let Go
You may be right; you can't get it all done and have time to exercise. So don't.
Delegate the laundry or the dishes or the vacuuming. If there is no-one to do it, then maybe it doesn't get done. Your health is way more important than an empty sink.
Which one of these tactics will you add to your day? Let me know in the comments!