If you’re like most moms, getting consistent exercise is a challenge. Young children require so much of your energy and older children often require tight schedules to accommodate their activities.
Moms will take care of everyone else’s needs and then perhaps address her own if there is any time left over, and working moms have almost no time. While children’s activities are important, moms deserve to thrive physically and mentally. Fitness is not a luxury and it’s not selfish to prioritize it. A healthy mom who maintains a fitness program is actually more available for her family, and has more energy. Busy moms can fit in exercise, it’s just a matter of time management and making wellness a priority.
Here are 12 Strategies to Help You Maintain a Fitness Regimen
1. Find something you love and can stick to. Exercise is supposed to be fun, not something you hate.
2. Buy a good running stroller. Even if you are not a runner, you can do fast walking, or join a mom’s strider club. The social aspect is a big plus and often strider’s clubs join races and set goals together.
3. Use Your Village. You need a support system. This can include your husband, sister, mother, mother in law, best friend, older kids or your neighbor. Ask them for childcare help, and make sure you plan specific times and days in advance. Trade childcare with other moms in the neighborhood. This is an “everyone wins” strategy.
4. Join a gym that offers childcare. Choose a gym that is also close enough that makes it convenient for you to go.
5. Consider joining a program like Class Pass if it’s available in your city. One monthly price allows access to fitness studios all over the city, and will give you hundreds of classes (and times) to choose from, making this easier for a busy mom’s schedule. In our town, they even offer an express lunch hour class for the working mom.
6. Schedule your exercise in advance. Treat the classes like an important appointment and schedule around them. Don’t leave them open-ended.
7. Listen to your body and respect its needs. Get enough sleep, eat to fuel your body. Make sure you eat after your workout to replenish your energy levels and stay even tempered.
8. Be an early bird. This is not for everyone, but some classes start as early as 5:30 a.m. Many gyms are open with early bird classes, and one mom we know uses this time to work out and then grocery shop on the way home.
9. Use technology. This includes fitness videos, the Wii, or cable programs. You’ll have the most success with this if you set a schedule and stick to the times.
10. Find an accountability partner. Team up with a buddy and hold each other accountable. Carpooling to the gym helps maintain commitment and keeps it fun.
11. Use clever strategies to keep moving. Walk to the grocery store, or walk your kids to school. Put music on and have a dance party. We do that on rainy days.Kids love that and will join right in. My friend takes her child to soccer practice and then she and another mom walk for an hour. If you have only 15 minutes, go for for a fast run. Design and write down a 15 minute routine you can do on the fly.
12. Exercise with your family. You can ski, bike, sled, hike, swim, walk, jog, garden, dance etc. Don’t make this the only exercise you do, though. Always carve out time that’s just for you.
And, my very best tip…
Find other nurturing women who love to exercise. Be each other’s cheerleader and inspiration.
Angela Roberts is a freelance writer and Nashville based food blogger with a heart for local, fresh food while dining out or cooking in. Find her blog at Spinach Tiger.