I want to exercise and stay fit and healthy; how about you? Most moms don’t have enough to do anyway, so squeezing in one more thing isn’t hard at all. Sorry, I think I snorted a bit! That is certainly not my reality, and I’m betting it is not yours either.
So what is a busy mom to do? For some, hitting the gym might be just the ticket to workout success. Time away from the house and kids to rejuvenate body and spirit is workable for some, but having the ability or the desire to join a gym is not my reality, nor is it the reality for many moms. The following are real tips for busy moms who are trying to make working out at home actually work.
Set a Budget
I know, I know, part of the allure of exercising at home is saving money. We’re not paying gym membership fees, so it should be free, right? Well, not exactly. Home fitness often requires some sort of investment, but do not get caught up on pricy gadgets, as they are not necessary and often prove to be far less effective than as advertised. We all remember ads for the Shake Weight, and it boggles the mind that people actually spent money on such a contraption! Yet, don’t we all know someone who owned one?
The cost of an at-home workout can be as affordable as an inexpensive jump rope, or as expensive as a full home gym. If you plan to invest in high-end equipment, please research because the last thing your household needs is a pricy dust collector. But do not trick yourself into thinking home workouts are totally free. Even running through the park or walking around your neighborhood requires a quality pair of shoes. Be honest about how much you can and want to spend, but do not buy without giving thought to what implements you truly need and will enjoy using.
Commit to a Scheduled Time
Our days are long and continually busy. If you are hoping to squeeze a workout in when you find a few spare minutes, I’ve got news for you. It won’t happen. We tend to put off the things we hope to work in, because viewing them as such makes them seem optional inste/ad of mandatory. Your mental and physical well-being should be a priority. So make a plan! Determine when you are free to dedicate minutes to your routine. Will you wake up earlier? Will you take advantage of your child’s nap time, or sneak a few minutes in the evening when your partner is home? Whatever time you select, document it on your schedule. Enter it in your phone, or write in your planner, to make it an official must-do. Create an appointment that you keep with yourself, for yourself.
Use Space Creatively
If you have space to dedicate a room or section of your home for exercise equipment, you can skip this one. I lack ample space, so I have to make the most of the square footage I do have. Selecting equipment that is easy to stow helps to avoid clutter, but do not let items become out of sight, out of mind. Hidden, yet accessible, is the key here.
Resistance bands are easier to fold up and stash than dumbbells, and there is less risk of injury if a wee one picks up a heavy weight and drops it on himself. Hide aerobic steps under a bed or couch. Roll up mats in the corner, or stick them in a decorative basket. Storage ottomans are great for smaller items. To reduce what you buy, stream workout videos online or borrow DVDs from the library. Both are ideal ways to change it up without spending on new fitness DVDs.
Involve Your Kids
Moms often undermine their workouts by trying to find a kid-free window. If you have young kiddos and never seem to even use the bathroom alone, kid-free time slots probably do not readily exist. The good news is that they don’t have to! Be creative! Hold the baby while doing squats, or climb and hop with your tykes at the playground. When you incorporate the kids, you set a positive example, while spending quality time together.
Mommy and Me classes allow kids to be a part of Mom’s exercise time. A quick Internet search yields workout plans utilizing the same concept at home, so there is no need to spend money on classes unless you have time and the desire to socialize. Another option is to purchase a jogging stroller or bike trailer. My kids are a bit older, but they have enjoyed joining my yoga practices. I pop in the video, and we do the poses together. Frankly, they are better at it than I am at this point!
What are your goals? What is your fitness why? It may be weight loss, to fit into a certain dress, to improve cholesterol numbers, or to feel better overall. Whatever your reason is, you need a way to track your progress toward that end. You should celebrate your victories and look back at how far you have come.
Take a before picture, or record your starting measurements and weight. Use a journal, an online tracker or an app. When discouragement sets in, or you wonder if any of this is worth it, review those first entries that detail your fitness level at the start. Remind yourself how many more reps you can do now or how much farther you can run. Look at the drop in inches or in triglycerides. Then pat yourself on the back, and keep going!
Define Exercises You Enjoy
The fitness world is full of opinions as to what the best workout is. Experts debate the effectiveness and efficiency of various regimens. None of these opinions matter. The best workout is the one you will do consistently. Find what you love, and do that. Even dancing burns calories, so if you seek to channel your inner Baby from Dirty Dancing, run with it, and enjoy!
When moments are a precious commodity, and sitting in front of The Real Housewives seems the perfect way to cap a day, do not simply sit down to watch the drama unfold. Grab some weights, and burn calories in the process!
Switch Up Your Routine
Boredom is one of the biggest exercise routine killers. Do not allow monotony to curb your will. Switching things up keeps it fresh. If running is your verb, outline various paths instead of traversing the same route week after week. Varying intensity prevents injury and also provides diversity. Securing a workout buddy can actually make you look forward to the days you have a pal to chat with as you sweat it out. Many say a partner also adds to the accountability aspect and helps one remain dedicated.
Utilize Online Resources
Online tools make working out at home ridiculously easy. Pinterest and YouTube offer a wealth of workouts to choose from, no matter what sort of workout sparks your interest. Streaming services for exercise routines exist. Membership sites like Spark People or Weight Watchers Online offer support and camaraderie from an online community of like-minded women working toward similar goals. The web can be your best ally, so be sure to use it.
Be Kind to Yourself
This might be the most important facet of ultimate success. We tend to be far too hard on ourselves, and moms are more prone to dialing up internal guilt to soul-splitting decibels. Some days you’ll blow it, and that is okay. We are all human, and we all fall short from time to time. Just pick yourself back up and keep going. One of my favorite inspirational quotes is a Japanese proverb: Fall seven times. Stand up eight. As long as you keep standing back up, you will reach your goals. So forgive yourself, and move on!