When it comes to health and fitness, many mothers feel like it’s impossible to fit working out into their already crammed schedules. For most of us, the pulls on our time are endless; from scheduling and running children to after-school activities and doctors appointments, to being involved in PTO and with school functions, preparing healthy meals and grocery shopping, keeping up with the home and finances, and not to mention the mothers who also hold down full-time jobs while juggling the demands of a family. When things get super busy, exercise is usually the first to go. Still, many moms successfully balance motherhood with fitness…they’re the ones you probably look at and think, “Man, she always has it together”. But the truth is these moms know some secrets to putting their health first, while managing all of their other responsibilities. I’m gonna share some of my secrets with you!
HIIT It! Few of us have an hour a day to devote to exercise, but research shows that you can get an effective workout in MUCH LESS time. The benefits of HIIT (high intensity interval training) are stacking up, and people are starting to take notice. In fact, ABC News recently ran an article on how a 7-minute workout could be your ticket to health. Tabata workouts are one of the most popular forms of HIIT and for good reason. They are broken down into eight rounds, with 20-second intervals of high intensity followed by 10-seconds of rest for a total four minutes. Don’t let that short time fool you, though, these high-intensity workouts which combine strength training and cardio are quite challenging, which also makes them highly effective. After just one tabata round, you’ll definitely get your heart pumping! That’s just a four minute workout – about the time of a commercial break! Anyone can do that! Or if you’ve got a little more time, try this fat-blasting tabata workout.
Make Baby Your Workout Buddy: For new moms, the demands of an infant can leave you exhausted, and you probably need baby’s nap time to rest and catch up on your own sleep. When’s a girl to get a workout in then? There are lots of exercises that you can do with your little one, and they will feel like it’s playtime! Mommy-Baby yoga is a great way to get started exercising again after pregnancy. There are also organizations like Fit4Mom, which not only offer group exercise sessions, but get you connected with other fitness-minded mamas! By incorporating your baby into your routine, you will reap the physical and mental benefits of working out, all while bonding with your sweet bundle! (photo credit here)
Playground Time Equals Workout Time: Most of us hit the playground or jungle gym at least once a week when our children are older (or daily if you have one in your backyard!). Take a cue from your sliding, swinging, and climbing children, and squeeze in a playground workout! Playground equipment is like a free gym, from the monkey bars (hello, pull-ups) to the benches (step ups, anyone) to the swing (perfect for incline rows), the only limit is your imagination. Add in some body weight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks, and you’ll get a killer total body workout while the kids get their exercise too!
Above all, the key to balancing motherhood with fitness is finding the time to fit in some kind of activity. Commit to five minutes of being active each day. Quite likely, once you’ve completed your five minutes, you’ll find yourself craving a longer session, and you’ll figure out the best ways to incorporate it into the things you’re already doing. Change your mindset. Park at the farthest spot at the store instead of circling around for the closest. Take the stairs more. Walk more. Finding ways to be active can feel awkward at first, but soon it’ll be second nature, and you’ll see yourself effortlessly incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Don’t wait – get started right now!