Whether you’re a new mom of an infant or have been to the delivery room a few times, you are busy. Doctor appointments, sports practices, late-night feedings, recitals, school, perhaps work—all of these things demand your time and energy. Who has time to exercise? You may grumble at the sight of sexy celebrity mom magazine cover photos while you push your screaming children through the grocery checkout line.
If you’re the average mom, the plastic surgeries and world-class personal trainers that celebrity moms use to look great probably aren’t options for you. Yet you can fit exercise into a busy schedule and start feeling great about your body. You can make time for exercise if you’re motivated and realistic. You may just need to think outside the box with a few of these tips.
Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or the beginning of the month, make a commitment to see an exercise regimen through. You’re not going to get very far if you just sporadically start exercising whenever you feel like it. Have a plan and stick to it.
In order to make that commitment, you’ll want to set realistic, motivating goals. Some people are motivated by losing weight, while others are motivated by checking a workout off a list. Do some soul searching and determine what motivates you. Then set those goals. Realistic goals include losing a pound a week, exercising for 30 minutes a day five times a week, or doing regimented training for a race, fun run or similar fitness-centered event.
Give Yourself Rewards
You deserve to be rewarded if you meet your goals. You should stay away from food rewards, which can be counter-productive. Instead, treat yourself to something special such as a visit to a spa or a shopping trip.
Include the Kids
As a mom, your biggest challenge may be building a fitness routine around your kids’ schedules. Instead, try building exercise into your kids’ routines. Not only will this help you, but it will teach them the important habit of regular exercise. Go for walks or bike rides together. Do exercise videos together. Walk the dog as a family. Play games that will raise your heart rate such as tag or tossing a ball around. If your child is at a sports practice, walk or jog laps around the field or gym while you wait.
A lot of people give up exercise because they get bored and lose motivation. The way to combat boredom is to incorporate variety into your workouts. A natural way to do this is to coordinate your exercise with the weather. If the weather is pleasant, exercise outside—play sports, go for walks, or move around at the park. In the winter months, try more indoor activities like lifting weights and doing cardio on stationary machines. Fitness classes like aerobics, yoga and Pilates can also be fun and challenging. If you can’t take a class, try using exercise videos in your home. If you don’t want to buy them, rent them or view them with a video streaming service.
Bring a Buddy
Working out with a friend or your partner is a great way to spend time together and stay motivated. You may even be able to find a group of moms who exercise together—with kids in tow. Talk to your friends and family and figure out some group exercise routines that work for you.
Use Small Sessions
If you’re having difficulty finding space in your day for 30 minutes of straight exercise, try breaking up your routine into small increments. For exercise to be effective, it should last at least ten minutes. As an example, you could do ten minutes of yoga when you first wake up in the morning. Before lunch you could take a brisk walk for ten minutes. Later in the afternoon you could spend another ten minutes playing tag with your kids at the park. That’s one way to do 30 minutes of exercise without making any major adjustments to an already existing schedule.
With these tips you’ll be well on your way to a fitter, healthier and happier you—without completely changing your schedule. You have the time to exercise; all you have to do is find what motivates you and build fitness into your routine.