We all know the importance of daily exercise. Not only will regular workouts improve your physical health; being physically active can also improve your mood, help you sleep better, and prevent disease. But let’s be real here. When you’re a busy mom you probably find yourself struggling with how to find time to exercise with kids.
Often, we find ourselves being pulled in so many different directions that exercise (which should be one of our top priorities) falls to the wayside.
If that sounds like a familiar scenario, then read on for 10 tips on how to find time to exercise when you have kids in tow.
How to Find Time to Exercise With Kids
1. Make Your Why Bigger Than Your Why Not
I’m starting off with this because I truly believe it’s the key to finding the time to workout – you have to have a “why” that’s bigger than your “why not.”
It’s always going to be easy to come up with a million reasons why you didn’t work out today – “the baby didn’t nap well,” “I was feeling too tired,” “I’m stressed from work,” “My back is sore,” “I have a headache,” “I missed the start time for my BodyPump class,” etc, etc.
And trust me, as a mom, I know that there are times when it’s genuinely difficult to get a workout in. My little guy just got over a bout of hand, foot and mouth disease which obviously meant that I was unable to drop him off at the gym daycare which threw us for a loop. I was still able to get a workout in though, thanks to the budget-friendly home gym I built.
Things happen. Things are always going to happen.
But if your “why” is bigger than those “things” that happen, then you’ll always find a way to make it work.
Think about your reason for wanting start a regular workout routine. No-one can come up with a “why” for you, but I’ll give you mine as an example.
“I workout because it makes me feel good, it boosts my self-confidence, improves my physical and mental health, sets a good example for my son, and hopefully, means that I’ll be around for a long time and able to see my son grow up.”
My why makes it easy to workout every day, despite the circumstances. When my son had HFM, even though we couldn’t go to the gym, I utilized my budget-friendly home gym, completed a few rounds of Insanity and got on my yoga mat in the mornings before he woke up.
Find your why and make sure it’s bigger than any why not that might come up.
2. Utilize Your Mornings
I was never a morning person until I became a mom. And if I’m being completely honest I still wouldn’t consider myself a natural morning person, but I have trained myself to be one.
But whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, the early morning before the kids wake up is one of the best times to get in a workout.
Many gyms open early in the morning (and some are even open 24/7) but if you’d rather save some time (or have a husband that leaves for work at 5am every morning, like me) then completing your early morning workout at home is another option.
I set up my own budget-friendly home gym in our spare room which makes it easy to get in a good workout to start off my day.
Alternatively, try starting a regular early morning yoga practice. There are countless physical, mental and spiritual benefits of a regular yoga/meditation practice and many of these benefits are actually amplified when yoga is practiced in the early morning.
3. Schedule It In
Every Sunday, I take some time to schedule daily workout appointments with myself for the coming week, writing down the exact time and what workout I’ll be doing.
By making these regular appointments, I’m less likely to skip a workout because the time has already been booked and set aside.
During the week, as I’m making other appointments, I always check my planner first. Because my health is a priority, I won’t book anything that clashes with my scheduled workout time.
4. Plan It Out
Along those same lines, consider planning out your workout routine ahead of time.
As every mom who manages to sneak an hour for herself knows, time is precious. You don’t want to be wasting valuable minutes you could be exercising by trying to decide what equipment you’re going to use or what workout DVD you’re going to follow.
By planning your workout routine, you know exactly what you need to do and you can use every scheduled minute to actually exercise.
5. Dress To Sweat
When you wake up in the morning, put on your workout clothes. Wearing your workout clothes during the day has multiple benefits.
Not only will this help put you in the fitness mindset, you’ll be able to jump straight into a workout during nap time and you’ll be more inclined to utilize opportunities for incidental exercise if you’re dressed appropriately! (Think taking the stairs instead of the escalator, parking further away from the store entrance, climbing the jungle gym with the kids.)
And these days, workout gear has become both functional and stylish.
One of my favorite places for cute workout clothes is Fabletics – their clothes are comfortable, stylish and high-quality, without the ultra-high prices of some of their competitors.
They always have great specials like 2 pairs of workout leggings for just $24 – find out more about Fabletics here.
6. Use Your Lunch
If you’re a working mom, your lunch break is a great time to fit in a workout.
Take your sneakers to work with you and go for a brisk walk or a jog. If there’s a yoga studio nearby, check the schedule to see if they have lunchtime classes. Or go to a nearby park and get in a stretch session.
It’s all about being creative with your time and resources!
7. Get A FitDesk
If you work from home or have your own office space, then consider getting a Fitdesk.
If you haven’t heard of a Fitdesk before, it’s basically an exercise bike with a built in tray that holds your laptop and foam rollers that support your arms while typing.
Alternatively, there’s also the Fitdesk Under Desk Elliptical. This is a less intrusive option, perfect for shared office spaces or if you’d just rather not be sitting at a bike to work (I prefer the elliptical option, personally.)
8. Include The Kids
Regardless of their ages, you can always find ways to incorporate the kids into your workouts. Including the kids is also a great way to introduce them to a fit and healthy lifestyle from a young age. Watching mom do her daily workout (and joining in) sets a great example.
For those with younger babies, I recommend an Ergo baby carrier. I have the classic Ergo carrier, pictured below, which I absolutely love and use every day. When my son was tiny, I also used the infant insert. I recommend using this if your baby is less than 12lbs for the extra support it provides.
Because the babies weight is evenly distributed between the hips and shoulders, it’s very comfortable and it definitely doesn’t feel like I’m carrying an extra 22lbs.
And importantly, because the Ergo holds baby in a natural sitting position, it’s both safe and ergonomic.
On sunny days, I’ll often put my son in the Ergo and go for a walk outdoors – the Ergo is particularly good walking trails and hikes that aren’t stroller friendly. I’ll also incorporate lunges and squats into my workouts.
Also, check out Facebook or Google for mom and baby stroller groups and outdoor fitness classes – this can be a great way to meet other fitness minded moms and enjoy working out together.
If your kids are older, get them to join in!
When you’re working out in your home gym, the kids can have fun bouncing on the fitness ball, stretching on the yoga mat and even lifting some of the lighter dumbbells.
If you’re doing a workout DVD at home, they can follow along, doing modified versions of movements that are too difficult.
When you go for a run, the kids can ride along beside you on their bicycle, or strap your little one in the stroller!
And don’t underestimate the benefits of joining your kids at the playground – you’ll burn a ton of calories and get the chance to feel like a kid again!
9. Use Beachbody on Demand
One of my favorite ways to get a workout in is by following along with a Beachbody on Demand in the living room.
Prior to discovering Beachbody on Demand, I had a couple of the workout routines from Beachbody on DVD. I’ve always been a big fan of Beachbody workouts, but they’re definitely on the more expensive side.
So when I heard about Beachbody on Demand, I immediately signed up for a free 30-day-trial. It’s excellent value, considering that the individual DVD’s can run into the hundreds of dollars each, but with Beachbody on Demand, you get immediate access to every single one of their programs for just $99/year.
At home workout programs are convenient, fun, and your little ones will get a kick out of watching mom jump around the living room. And another great benefit is that now my son is a toddler, he loves to join in with me. Teach them young 🙂
10. Join a Gym With Childcare
After touring a number of gyms in my local area, I recently joined a gym that offers amazing childcare.
Before joining, I crunched the numbers and realized that it actually worked out substantially cheaper to join a slightly higher priced gym that offers free childcare over a cheaper gym and hiring a babysitter.
My son loves the chance to socialize with different children, play with new, exciting toys, and enjoy cuddles with the sweet childcare staff.
Before you utilize any gym childcare make sure to check the following:
- Staff to child ratio
- Cleanliness and safety standards
- “Sick child policy”
- Staff qualifications (CPR, infant/child resuscitation, child development, etc.)
- Background checks
There’s no denying that finding the time to exercise with kids can be challenging, but with some forward planning, effective utilization of your time, incorporating the kids and using the resources available to you, it can be done!
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