Did you know that regular exercise is so good for your mood that some professors say it’s equivalent to popping an anti-depressant? It’s also been proven to greatly improve your concentration, productivity and mind power. Then of course there are the long-term health benefits. And, in case that’s not enough incentive for you, it also helps us create a body we love.
That’s all good news, except for if you’re a super busy mum who feels like you have no time to exercise any more. I’ve heard this complaint from many of the mums I work with. How are you meant to fit in exercise on top of taking care of your kids, a household and working? It’s all too common for self care – and exercise is an essential form of self care – to fall to the bottom of your already far too long to-do list. Does that sound familiar to you?
If so, these six tips might help you find ways to fit exercise into your day, no matter how busy you are. I know because I juggle taking care of my son, working almost full time, growing a business and taking care of house, yet I make time for exercise most days. I prioritise it because I know the difference it makes on my mood, energy levels and productivity and my ability to be the kind of present, playful mum I want to be. Here are six suggestions for you to play around with:
- Get up earlier than your kids and include exercise in your morning routine. I believe that getting up early and having a morning routine that you practice each day is one of the most important things any busy working mum can do in order to feel less flustered and more organised, relaxed and nurtured. Including exercise in that routine gives you a certainty that it will get done before the craziness and unpredictability of your normal day begins. Personally I get up at 5am and exercise for about 45 minutes as part of my morning routine.
- Do something you love. It’s great to do a hard workout, but if you’re doing something you dread your subconscious is going to find a lot of excuses to NOT do it. Ideally you want to make exercise something you really look forward to. For me that’s dancing. Seeing as I don’t often have time to actually go to a dance class I take online classes, of which there is a plethora. I recently found this awesome dance teacher from the US who has fab online dance workouts: Keaira LaShae. I also have two free dance videos here that I recorded with my dance teacher in Colombia (she’s amazing). Try them out if you want to burn some calories while learning new Latin American moves in the comfort of your own home.
- Make use of home workouts. Let’s be realistic, often it’s hard to coordinate with your partner and so you have to be home with the kids (even if they’re sleeping). For that reason I love home workouts. YouTube has so many it can be hard to choose and there’s a ton of apps available. One of my favourites is Nike+ Training Club.
- Try tabata training, which has been referred to as the “4-minute fat-burning miracle workout”. Doing just 4 minutes of this high intensity training can increase your aerobic capacity and shoot your metabolic rate up, thus helping you burn fat over time. And it’s fast and super efficient. Search tabata aps on your iphone or look up tabata workouts on YouTube. There are TONS of both.
- Take dance breaks throughout the day. Put on your favourite songs and dance like no one is watching (apart from maybe your kids). It’s a great way to boost your energy, mood and metabolism at the same time. If you do a high energy couple of songs it’s equivalent to a tabata workout.
- Exercise with your kids. Go cycling, hiking, running, play football, play catch, dance, swim, surf. Kids love to move.
For any of these tips to really be useful you need to prioritise exercise. As mums we’re not use to prioritising ourselves. But, if you start to get present to the impact regular exercise has on your ability to be more present and playful with your family and more productive while you’re working, that will help. Play around with these suggestions until you find what works for you and your schedule and then try to make it into a habit. Even if you can only fit in 20 minutes a day, that’s fine. Consistency is key.
Kelly Brooke grew up on a boat in the South Pacific because her parents had the guts to follow their dreams. She wants to help all mums follow theirs. She is a coach, writer and strategist and creator of the program More Time, Less Guilt. She helps busy mums get out of their comfort zone and boldly pursue their dreams. To start with she helps them nail the fundamentals, like productivity, mindfulness and creating success habits. When not juggling motherhood, work and a business, she can be found dancing (sadly these days usually in her PJs before the family wakes up), hanging out in nature and making a mess in the kitchen with her son. She offers lots of free and valuable resources and articles for busy mums on her website: www.mumsdreamsignite.com