As a busy mom of three, I know it can be a challenge to take time out for ourselves and make health a priority.
Between kids, household duties, and work demands it’s easy to ignore our own needs and allow our health to slide.
After a decade of raising children and yo-yo dieting, I came to realize that in order to be at my best as a wife and mother, I needed to make my health and wellness a real priority.
Although it wasn’t easy, I began carving out 30 to 45 minutes a day to work out and focus on myself. I also became more mindful about how I was nourishing my body by adopting healthier eating habits.
Not only was I able to lose the extra weight I had gained over time, but I’ve also kept it off without much effort, other than by making those new habits a part of my lifestyle.
The best part is that I also regained my energy and have a newfound sense of confidence.
Once you make the decision to commit to a workout schedule and make it a priority in your life, you may feel unsure about how to insert it into your day along with all your other responsibilities.
As mothers we often feel overextended, tired, and guilty about taking time out for ourselves. We may feel that we have no extra time or energy to spare, especially if we have younger kids at home.
Here I’ve compiled 6 tips that have helped me (as well as other moms) find time to fit a workout into our day. No guilt and no excuses!
1. Workout while they sleep
Most moms seem to agree that they prefer to add fitness into their day while their kids are asleep in order to keep interruptions to a minimum.
Early morning workouts before the kids are up can aid in feeling more energized throughout the day. Plus having accomplished that task first thing can ease your mind and prevent missing your workout later when you may feel tired or pressed for time.
As an alternative, late evening workouts after the kids are in bed have their own benefits. Some women claim that their sleep is improved following their later workout. They are able to fall asleep immediately after their head hits the pillow, rather than lying awake stressing about the day ahead.
For those who are home with young children, choosing to work out during nap time is a popular option.
2. Workout when they are not home
Working out when the kids are out of the house is the second preferred option among moms to fit a workout into their day.
If your schedule allows, work out during a time when your kids are not at home. This may help ease your mind about taking time out for yourself since it won’t require taking extra attention away from them.
Try maximizing your time following early morning drop offs before school or after your kids get on the bus.
During lunch break while they are in school is another perfect opportunity to get a quick workout in if you are able to. You may find time during after school activities, or when they are spending time at a friend’s or relative’s house to be a good option.
Flexibility is always key. You may only be able to sneak in 15 to 30 minutes on some days, and you must be willing to adjust your workout time on a day by day basis to coincide with everyone’s schedules.
3. Take them with you to the gym
If you have younger children, most fitness centers offer childcare drop offs for kids within a certain age range. This allows you to work out and keep the little ones busy in a fun, safe environment.
If you have a family membership older kids can benefit by taking a class or doing their own physical activity (such as basketball) nearby. This will help keep them active and set a foundation for a lifelong appreciation for fitness.
4. Give them special things to do while you workout
Your workout time can also be a special time for your kids.
Have them join in on your workout if possible, or find a special exercise video that is geared towards kids. Have them use this time to read books from the library, do an art project, or pursue their favorite hobby.
For younger kids, keep them occupied within sight by having a special basket of toys that they only get to play with during your workout time.
When all else fails, most kids love to play educational games on a kid safe tablet for that short period of time. They’ll begin to look forward to you working out because they know there is something fun in it for them!
5. Teach them the importance of why you are trying to stay fit
The one thing I always tell my children when it comes to my workouts is how important that time is for me.
I explain to them that I exercise to stay healthy and have more energy. When I have more energy, it boosts my mood and helps me feel good so I can be at my best as their mother.
Before I begin my workout I make sure they have what they need and let them know that I’ll be right there if they absolutely need me for any reason.
Interruptions are far fewer when they understand the process and how important it is for you. Younger children will eventually catch on and can play somewhere nearby so you can easily watch them and make sure they are safe and their needs are met.
6. Employ help when needed
Sometimes it’s okay to rely on a close family member or friend to step in and help out on days when there just is no better option.
Ask your spouse, a grandparent, or a close friend if they would mind watching your kids for an hour so that you can go to the gym. Repay the favor by doing something special for them to show your appreciation.
Although this list of tips seems pretty obvious, it’s easy to forget that it is possible to work fitness into your schedule as a busy mom. My simple list of tips can help you figure out when the most opportune time of the day would work for your situation.
Women often put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own and find several excuses for not taking time to care for themselves. But in reality, the best thing you can do for your family is to put your health first.