The busy mum’s fitness survival plan: 5 tips to keep your exercise routine alive

Tuesday 14 April 2015
  • Mum working out at home
    Hooray to finding some floor space

Was the last time you had a nice, long relaxing bubble bath in the noughties? 

Can you remember your last sleep in? 

And when did you last get the opportunity to paint your nails?

If you’re struggling to recall, then I’m guessing it’s been a while.

However, if your average day consists of doing a food shop, going to work, picking up the dog from school, taking the kids to obedience lessons, cooking dinner, helping with homework, packing lunches, ironing uniforms. It sounds like you’re a super-busy mum with an extremely hectic schedule…. am I right?

Yet despite that hectic schedule, you still find yourself wishing there was an extra hour in the day where you could focus on your fitness. Get a bit of exercise in. Give yourself a little endorphin boost.

Well without further delay (‘cause you’re probably pretty busy), here are five easy tips to get fitness back on your priority list. 

1. Have the right mindset

Like most mums, you’re probably in this circle of guilt. You want to workout, but you’re torn because you think you should give all your free time to the kids. And of course time with kids always wins, leaving you feeling bad for not exercising and your fitness suffering as a result.

You need to change your perspective. 

If kids are anything, it’s impressionable. They’ll be watching you workout and if you think it’s important, they’ll think it’s important. 

What better example to set than to show your children that regular exercise is important and makes you happier and healthier?

Plus if you are happier and healthier, you’ll be giving your family the best possible version of youself.

So don’t feel guilty about giving yourself some me-time.

2. Block out the time

If you have four children, you’re a busy mum. If you have a toddler and a baby, you’re a busy mum. If you have one kid, you’re a busy mum. You get the point.

But just like you schedule in every playdate, every doctor’s appointment, every nap time even – do the same for yourself. Block out time, even if it’s just 20 minutes, and write it down in your diary.

Having that visual reminder will be a huge motivator.

3. Build your own at-home gym

You don’t need a gym membership to keep fit (unless paying for one is the only incentive that works for you, then in which case, here’s one we made earlier…). 

Believe it or not, everything you need is right under your own roof.

Let me explain…

Your house has stairs (hopefully), there’s that old chair hanging about in the garage, a pair of big two litre bottles of juice in the cupboard and the kids have a skipping rope hidden somewhere in their toy box. Team all that gear up with your body weight and you’ve got yourself an at-home gym.

Here’s an example workout to try:

•    Run up and down the stairs 10 times. (No stairs? Try 30 seconds of high knees on the spot x10.)
•    Plank for one minute (ideally on carpet!).
•    Two minutes of skipping.
•    x20 tricep dips and x20 push ups on your old chair.
•    Another one-minute plank.
•    x20 step ups on the old chair with the big bottles in your hands.
•    Finish off with another two minutes of skipping.

Yes, you may appear to be running around your house like a mad hatter. But who cares if you look like a bit of a nut case doing this? 

The worst that could happen is that your partner raises an eyebrow while secretly thinking “good for you – it’s more than I’m doing” or your kids tell their friends who tell their mums, who then say “jeez – why didn’t I think of that!”

It’s the most convenient 20-minute workout you’ll ever do!

4. Play when they play

Just the same as the mum motto ‘sleep when your babies sleeping’. You should play when they play, or even better, play with them.

As a mum you may find you do a lot of watching. But instead of sitting on that park bench or having a quick catch up on Facebook while the kids play outside, why not join in. 

They’ll absolutely love it and you’ll have fun too. Plus you’ll burn over 120 calories in just 30 minutes.

5. Don’t worry - it all adds up

Along with incidental exercise (running after your wandering tots) and mum duties (you’re probably rushed off your feet most days), it’ll all add up. 

So don’t worry if you’re not getting that solid hour of exercise on a regular basis. Just 10 minutes a day, if that is all you can spare, is enough. 

You could also make weekend activities a regular thing. Hiking and biking are awesome ways to get kids enjoying the great outdoors. Plus these little adventures will make memories that’ll stay with them through to adulthood. 

However, if you’re still conscious of not doing enough during the week, get creative! Squat while you’re waiting for the microwave to ping or do some jumping jacks while you’re waiting for the toaster to pop. Anything to get your heart rate up and a few extra calories burnt will help.

Got some more great ideas to help other mums get moving? 

Share them below in the comments. No matter how crazy they may be – we’d love to hear them!


Flickr Creative Commons Image via Joe Shlabotnik.

 

Amy Cox

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AMY COX
Amy is UQ Sport’s resident blogger. She’s a peanut-butter loving Brit, who exercises to eat whatever she wants. You’ll find Amy either in the gym, playing badminton or doing the wrong moves in group fitness classes.