Finding Time to Work Out

finding time to work outYou’re busy. I know. But you hear the voice in the back of your head. Maybe it talks about the clothes that are snug or don’t fit since having babes. It reminds you that you want to be a healthy example for your children. The voice tells you how tired it is, that you need to get some energy in your life. Yet time is always out of reach. This is true for any caregiver whether with one child or four, whether you have a partner or not. We each have particular challenges that make fitting in a workout very difficult sometimes. If you’re convinced you just don’t have the time, consider your situation and see if a few of the following could create time in your day to break a sweat.

Cut something else. For example, take the Facebook app off your phone so you are less tempted to scroll after everyone is asleep and instead put on your sneakers or get some rest so you can wake up a few minutes earlier. Maybe you like waking up slowly in the morning, requiring an extra 15 minutes. Several times a week, take a deep breath and just get moving, literally.

Add an app. Perhaps it’s a nutrition app. Maybe you already have a workout app through your favorite online program or smart watch technology. Update it during that minute you have at lunch or while nursing the babe to sleep. Tracking may offer you incentive. Or add a reward of something special when you reach certain milestones, like a target number of workouts, minutes of workouts, inches lost, pounds lost, and so forth.

Get some accountability. Turns out when people expect me to check in I am more likely to magically find time in my schedule. Accountability offers motive and incentive for me to create time in my day. Try joining a group of friends or even strangers. If you’re in a mom sort of group I am almost entirely sure you could ask and suddenly other moms you know will appear to jump on board or invite you to their group.

Adjust what you consider working out. It doesn’t require fancy weights, a high-profile coach, or an expensive jogging stroller. Use your body weight and take advantage of at-your-fingertip resources like the endless variety of free YouTube videos. Many magazines (like Runner’s World) or organizations (like Yoga International) have free access to many videos with their knowledgeable teachers and leaders. Start small, like with a plank challenge—anyone has time for 2 minutes a day, and a strong core can make other types of exercise easier.

Include the kids! Run around with them, let them climb on you, or encourage them to follow along. You don’t have to find time without them if you include them. This is especially great for caregivers who are with their young children all day but can’t find time alone or those who don’t want to spend what little free time they have at the gym in the evenings after work. This encourages them also to get up and get moving, and may inspire new behaviors and bonds in your family over the years.

At home the kids know I have a workout time. Immediately your preschooler will need you like never before, but stick to your guns so you can firm up your guns! My infant likes to sit in her high chair with a snack and watch the entertainment that is her mother trying any variety of workout moves. She offers inspiration for me to be a great example and I take heart in knowing she won’t remember any of the silly faces I make in pure determination. My preschool-aged sons play with Legos or sometimes join in—as long as they give me enough space to exercise safely.

…Or Set the kids aside.  Sometimes knowing you’ll have kid-free time can motivate you to get out there and get moving. Ask your partner to take over some of the morning or bedtime routine so that you can work on being healthy. Whether you walk, run, or ride, an hour away from the house can be a great way to catch up on the news, a favorite podcast, or audiobook, and being able to keep up with our grown-up interests helps us all feel a little more human.

Break it up. You don’t need to pour sweat for 60 minutes to get in a workout. Ten minutes here and there of getting your heart rate up is a workout! Or, for a SAHM like me, I can manage to find 30 minutes in my day but that takes effort. Sometimes that means 25 minutes of workout and 5 minutes of stopping to redirect my children in some way. I use that half hour and then shower later as I find another free five or ten minutes.

Cut out other time related to working out. Perhaps the time to wash and fix your hair cuts down on your enthusiasm to work out. Throw your hair back in a ponytail a couple days a week or find online tutorials on cute simple wash-and-go hairstyles. Perhaps the travel time to and from the gym is stopping you. Cut it out by finding online videos or body-weight exercises you can do at home.

Consider the gym. Many say it’s not worth the cash. I say it depends. We did not have the extra cash for a gym membership until it became important enough that I was willing to cut other things in our budget. The stars aligned for me when a third child made any childcare too expensive; my interest in getting back to great health increased; and a gym that includes childcare opened nearby. Now it’s a win/win/win—a 90 minute reprieve from the kiddos several times a week, the opportunity to get in workouts, and child-free showers! Look at your budget, local options, and find if health can get a line in your budget.

IMPORTANT: Moms who are nursing must find time to shower and change after every workout! Staying in that sports bra increases risk for mastitis, clogged ducts, and yeast infections. If you don’t have time for a full shower, wipe your breasts with a baby wipe after and change bras at the very least. Never re-wear your sports bras without washing them.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: infant, toddler, preschooler, parenting, health, exercise, schedule

Tags: exercise, health, infant, parenting, preschooler, schedule, toddler

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