Sep 15 2016

Fitting In Exercise...Advice for Busy Moms from a Busy Mom

Exercise…oh, you can feel so good when it’s over.  But I find that the biggest challenge is finding the time to fit it in.  With 3 young and involved children and a busy husband who works long hours, TIME is my biggest hurdle to regular exercise.

So, here are 5 tips that I’ve used to help me fit exercise into my busy schedule.  And, while I cannot claim to have a fail-proof solution, every single step is a step in the right direction. 

1-     Wake up 30-45 minutes earlier and work out before your day begins.  Of course, sleep is also important to overall health, but there is nothing better than starting your day out with a good, hard sweat, right?

Since my husband leaves really early most mornings, I’ve resorted to what I call “driveway workouts”.  And they are just what they sound like, me working out in my driveway.  There are literally tons of workouts that you can find online (search for living room workouts) through Youtube, Pinterest or apps- Nike has a great one that is free.  Most don’t even require equipment.  Think jumping jacks, squats, lunges and pushups. 

I like to go outside so I can play my music loud and not wake up my kids.  I also find that I tend to make healthier food choices on the mornings when I work out early.
2-     Optimize your time while you are at a child’s ball practice or gymnastics class.  Many of those activities last at least an hour.  And, I love to cheer on my kids, but it’s also a great time to get in your workout.  Depending on their age, of course, you can watch for the first 10 minutes to ensure they don’t need anything, then use the next 30 minutes to be active, then you can finish up (cool down and stretch) during the last 20 minutes of the activity. 

Don’t want to go alone, invite another mom to join you.  Many times, a buddy will make the time pass more quickly.

If you are like me, and have other kids to entertain at the event, either take them with you, or play with them.  Tag, catch or hide and seek can all get your heart rate up and provide excellent memories for years to come.  They may also help your little ones rest better at bedtime.

3-     Consider walking instead of driving to work or meetings.  Ok, I’ll admit it- I’ve had to read this tip about 1,000 times before I tried it, and I rolled my eyes the first 900 times I read it.  And, I’m not going to tell you that I would ever walk to work (I live over 30 miles from my office).  However, there are daily opportunities to walk instead of drive.  I have started making an effort to walk to lunch or meetings near my office.  Many times, it’s just as fast as driving and parking, and I like to think that it gives me a good excuse to wear more comfortable shoes. 

This could also mean parking a little farther from the door to get in some extra steps. 

4-     Maximize your lunch break.  Again, this may not work for every person, every day.  But, I bet there is one day per week when you could exercise for 30 minutes during your lunch break.   I have lunch meetings nearly every Monday-Thursday, but Fridays are so much lower-key.  And, I’ve tried to make it my routine to pack my workout clothes and either go for a run or visit an exercise class at noon.  I was actually recruited to the class from some co-workers, and it’s a ton of fun. 

5-     Ok- here’s my big one…Set a goal that you want to achieve and make a plan to get it done.  I don’t mean a goal of losing 15 pounds or getting back into your skinny jeans.  I mean a functional goal- like running a 5K, joining a softball team, or doing 25 consecutive push-ups.

Personally, my goal right now is training for a half-marathon.  I know I’ll enjoy the feeling of crossing the finish line, but I also like the accountability of knowing that I really MUST train for the race.  It gives me that extra motivation to get out there and make my training runs happen.  I reserve either Saturdays or Sundays for my long runs, and I schedule them to avoid conflicts.  I think of that as “me time” for an hour each weekend.

My last tidbit is prepare for the opportunity to exercise- go ahead a dress in your clothes to exercise just in case you get the opportunity. 

So, get out there.  Set a goal, make a schedule, and hold yourself accountable, but also recognize that obstacles will get in your way.  Sometimes, exercise will just not fit into your schedule.  But, look for opportunities instead of excuses.   Set a positive example for your kids, and take it one day at a time.  We’re all going for progress, not perfection.
Jackie Bracey

Chief Operating Officer