One issue that most moms face is how to work in fitness amongst a busy day filled with caring for children, work, school, volunteer activities, church, meal preparation, and the millions of other things that a mom does in a day. Exercise often ends up at the bottom of the list, but it shouldn’t.
Exercise is one of the best ways to remain healthy as we age. Regular exercise is more than just about maintaining a healthy weight. It can help fight many of the common women’s health issues, including PMS, osteoporosis, depression, and even breast cancer (take a look at this article from the World Health Organization for more info).
Obviously exercise is important, but how can we manage to work it into an already over-full day?
The following methods used by me and other moms from Mom Prepares may help inspire you to find new ways to exercise and keep your physical activity level high:
Exercise Early in the Day
This is an exercise tip I’ve used many a time. If I don’t do this, I am a lot less likely to work in any physical activity that day. Not only will you be more likely to get your exercise in when you do it first-thing in the morning, but some studies have suggested that exercising earlier in the day may offer more health benefits.
Try Home-Based Exercises
I have some friends who somehow manage to make it to the gym or another fitness class several times a week, but I am not one of them. If I can’t do it at home, I probably won’t do it. Even though exercise routines and fitness videos that you do in your living room are probably not as intensive as routines found at the gym, any amount of physical activity is better than none.
Exercise in Short Bursts
If you are like many moms, you probably don’t have an entire hour or more to dedicate just to exercising each day. Luckily, there seems to be no less benefit from several shorter exercise sessions spread throughout the day than what you get from an extended exercise session. Some exercise plans are even designed so you can be done with them in less than 15 minutes while maximizing the health benefits (usually called a High Intensity Training (HIT) workouts).
You might be able to squeeze out some more time by
Exercise with Your Kids
I think this is one form of exercise that a lot of moms do without even realizing it. Chasing your kids around the house or yard totally counts as a form of exercise! Going to the park and pushing your kids in a swing or doing the park activities along with them is a fun way for all of you to have a lot of fun and stay healthy. If you have a garden, gardening together with your children is a great way to exercise and receive the health benefits of sunlight and dirt.
Another fun way to exercise is by using videos or fitness video games targeted at children. I’ve done boxing, virtual river rafting, hula-hooping, and even jogging in place using virtual fitness games with my daughter. We find it is the most fun when we compete against one another, but if your family isn’t quite so cut throat, I’m sure many of these activities can be collaborative.
Look for Short-Term Fitness Challenges
I tend to get bored easily with exercise, which makes it hard for me to stick with it. I find that looking for short-term fitness challenges can really boost my motivation to keep going. Last year, I ran the 5K Color Run with my daughter which kept us motivated to exercise all spring. If you’ve ever done CrossFit, it is all about creating short-term fitness goals to keep you motivated.
Preparing for Future Health with Exercise
How do you manage to work in exercise? Is it something that comes easily, or do you find it challenging?