You have the best of intentions. You wake up ready to tackle the to-do list, including making it to the gym for a workout. But after dropping off the kids at school, picking up the dry cleaning, running to the post office and grabbing a few items at the supermarket for tonight’s dinner, the morning is gone and you’ll be headed back to the pick-up line in no time. Then it’s soccer practice, meal prep, homework help, bath time and—oops. Exercise got bumped. Again. Sound familiar?
Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working mom, finding time to fit in exercise is a real challenge. While an hour-long visit to the gym several days a week may not be possible, you can still get a good workout with some simple adjustments to your schedule and a little planning. Here are seven ways to make it happen:
1. Rise and shine
Waking up 20 minutes earlier than usual gives you a few golden moments to get moving before your crew is up and moving for the day. Take a quick walk or run around the neighborhood, do a 20-minute DVD or on-demand workout or simply stretch and do some old-school exercises (sit ups, pushups, etc.) in the living room. You’ll be done before breakfast is on the table, equipped with energy to get through the morning.
2. Love-yourself lunch
Skip the fast-food run and mindless munching at your desk. Your lunch hour will be better spent if you eat a healthy meal brought from home, then use the leftover time to head out for a walk or run. Get some coworkers to join you, and you’ll not only enjoy fresh air and calories burned but also a time-out from the office stresses of the day. To ramp up your workout, do some basic exercises such as lunges or squats while you’re outside.
3. Kids’ play
A trip to the playground doesn’t have to be just for the kids! Get busy climbing, swinging, sliding and jumping on the equipment along with them. You could also play catch or tag, race each other, hike or bike the trails or simply run together for great outdoor exercise. You’ll have so much fun, it won’t even feel like a workout!
4. Worth the wait
Instead of sitting on the sidelines or in your car, scrolling through your phone while the kids are at cheerleading or karate class, use that time (and any available equipment) to exercise. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers and walk around the track, climb the stadium stairs or do simple stretches and exercises while you wait. Remember to bring along a water bottle and snacks for you and the kids to stave off hunger until dinnertime.
Just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you have to stay slumped on the couch all evening. While the kids are doing their homework or baby is sleeping, grab a kitchen chair and do squats, leg lifts or dips. Keep a jump rope handy and squeeze in a jump session here and there. Remember, exercise done in short spurts still counts toward the day’s total!
6. Cut it out
You say you don’t have time; you think you don’t have time. But are you being honest with yourself? Five or ten minutes of social media checking several times a day adds up! Take a good look at your day and how your time is spent. Journal a day’s activities if you have to. You might be surprised to find decent-sized pockets of free time when you could be exercising.
7. Planning pro
All of these tips can work, but having a plan is a must. Schedule exercise into your calendar just like you would any other appointment or priority. And when you’re done, check it off your list. There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment!