As a postpartum fitness coach, I often hear women tell me that they just can’t find the time to work out, to which I reply, “the time is there, you just need to effectively use it.”
I remember a time after my youngest turned 1. I was determined to get back on the high horse that is fitness, and wanted to work to reach the goals I had set for myself. I worked 40 hours per week in my field as an Early Childhood Educator and would go home most days after 5 to feverishly start dinner for 3 hungry kiddos. Then there was family time, bath time, storytime, and everything in between that spontaneously comes up.
Needless to say, my day was jam-packed. But here’s what I knew. I knew that I wanted to feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Quite honestly, I wanted to look better too. Birthing children takes a toll on the body, and I had done it thrice, so let’s just say I wanted to tighten up in a few places. I also knew that if I wanted to try to hit any of the goals I set for myself, then I would have to take action. No one would save me from my woes, and no one would do the work for me.
With all the benefits that came along with committing to a fitness routine, I knew that the time I would take to recoup and connect with myself was needed in order to make me a better mother to my children, and a better me for me. I learned as a mom of three that motherhood can consume us in its entirety if we aren’t careful about what we do with our time.
Balancing motherhood and fitness can be a challenging task, but it is essential for both physical and mental well-being. Here are some tips for staying active and healthy as a busy mom:
- Prioritize exercise: Make fitness a priority in your daily or weekly routine, and make this a non-negotiable. Set aside time for yourself a few days a week to raise your heart rate and connect with your body in movement. Just as daily meals are required for your sustenance, as should your fitness.
- Get creative with your workouts: Find exercises that you enjoy, whether it’s a dance class, a yoga session, or strength training. Make it fun by building your favorite playlist or connecting with other like-minded moms for walks or hikes within the neighborhood.
- Make the most of your time: Try to multitask while you exercise. For example, you can bring your baby along for a stroller walk, or do a workout video while your child plays nearby. One of my favorite ways to sneak exercises into my day is to do them while I’m in front of the stove cooking. Some exercises you can do in the kitchen are squats, lunges, pushups, and planks, to name a few. Also, how much time do you spend scrolling your phone, or binge-watching your favorite show? You’d be surprised to see how much time has passed by laughing at memes online. Use this time to throw on a quick 20-minute workout video that you’ve saved online.
- Get support: Find a workout buddy, join a fitness class, or sign up for a gym membership. Having a support system can help keep you accountable and motivated. Also, working out with like-minded individuals has a domino effect that works well to your advantage.
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine: Small bursts of activity throughout the day can add up. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the entrance, or go for a walk during lunch breaks.
- Be flexible: It’s okay if you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s also this assumption that one must work out daily in order to achieve the benefits of having a fitness routine. That’s not the case. Scheduling 3-4 workouts into your week will be more than enough to hit goals and give you the space to recover and plan for your next workout.
- Remember the benefits: Regular exercise can improve your mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. The labor of motherhood can be physically and emotionally exhausting. A consistent exercise routine can combat fatigue and help reduce the stress and anxiety you may experience. By taking care of yourself and taking the much-needed time to focus on your wellness, you’ll be better equipped to care for yourself and your family.
Balancing motherhood and fitness requires effort and dedication, but it can be done with a little bit of planning and patience. Remember to be kind to yourself and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be.