Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Life as a mum can be very busy, with a lot of demands on your time no matter how old your children are. Finding the time to do much of anything for yourself can be a real challenge, and that includes finding the time to exercise. Taking care of yourself is important for anyone, but keeping fit will give you the energy to keep to with your children and sets a good example for them to see you taking your health and fitness seriously. If you’re struggling to fit a workout in around the school run, here are some fitness tips for busy Mums.
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- Create a routine. All mothers are used to creating routines for everyone else in the family to keep this organised, and the same approach can work for your fitness too. Make exercise part of your daily routine to help turn it into a habit, and easier to stick to. Make sure everyone else knows what your routine is too so they don’t schedule anything else for you at a time when you’ve planned to go for a run or attend a spin class. Make sure the family knows that this is your time. Booking classes or booking time with a personal training can help you to stick to the routine.
- Get up early. Being an early riser gives you more time to get things done. Any parent knows that the day can easily get away from you, with unexpected demands on your time, whether it’s a surprise school project, a demand for a lift, or a toddler meltdown. Get up early and get your workout done first thing in the morning before your time gets away from you. Exercise is a natural energy booster, so can get your day off to a good start.
- Fuel your body. Many of us think of a healthy diet as just eating lots of fruit and vegetables, but to properly fuel your body for exercise, you need more than that. If you find you’re always hungry, then your body probably isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs. For exercise, you need protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates to build muscle.
- Plan your meals. If you’re feeding yourself, a spouse and kids, that soon becomes a lot of meals to arrange during the week. Meal planning makes it easier to stay organised, feed your family on a budget, waste less food, and stick to healthy, nutritious meals. On a Sunday, spend some time planning your meals for the next week, create a grocery list and only buy what you need.
- Create a gym at home. You might have time for a workout, but the travel time to and from the gym can be a problem. If that’s the case for you, set up a gym at home. Convert the garage or take over the spare bedroom. Depending on the sort of exercise you want to do, you might not need much equipment. A set of free weights, a workout bench, a workout mat, and a jump rope can be enough to get you started. Later on, if you have the room and the budget, you can invest in equipment like a treadmill or an exercise bike. With the kit at home, you can fit your workouts around family life much more easily.
- Mix up your exercise. The important thing is to move your body and keep active. Having a range of activities to do will help you to keep active, as you can just do what you have time for and will enjoy. Go to gym classes, do a workout DVD at home, go on a walk in your lunch break at work, or play football in the garden with the kids at the weekend. Just find a way to move your body every day.
- Find a way to include the family. Being active together is a great way to get your exercise in without compromising on family time. Depending on the age of your children, there are lots of ways you could do this. For younger children, play active games in the garden together, or plan weekend adventures like walks or bike rides. For older children, find an activity you could do together, like joining a dance class together or a weekend sports team. They can learn to enjoy being active and healthy and can spend time with you at the same time, learning good habits for later life.