Moms these days have a lot on their plates. Between keeping the family fed and the house clean, endless driving to and from practices and events, and overseeing homework, it’s easy to see why many moms have a hard time finding time to exercise more. If you’re anything like me, you check off those to-do list items that involve other people and leave the “me” items unchecked. All too often, exercise becomes one of those perpetually put-off tasks you never get around to.
Finding time to exercise more during the week is easier than you might think, and by following these five simple tips, you can get started today.
1. Add to What You’re Already Doing
One common pitfall that causes many women to stumble is the idea that adding exercise to an already-busy routine means eliminating other important activities and commitments. You don’t have to make huge scheduling changes in order to fit a little exercise into each day. Instead of finding the closest parking spot when you’re running errands, park farther away and walk the distance. When possible, walk the kids to school and continue walking after you drop them off. While you’re taking an evening TV break at home, get off the couch and do leg lifts on the floor, stretch, jump on the stationary bike, or use hand weights.
2. Put It on the Calendar
You’d never decide to skip a scheduled doctor’s appointment, right? Why should it be easier to fit appointments into your busy schedule than it is to fit a few minutes of exercise into your week? Pick a time and write “exercise” onto the calendar. Not only will you have that visual reminder, you might just begin to look at exercise as an appointment you’re committed to keeping rather than an extra task you need to fit in.
3. Involve Your Family
Including your family into your exercise routine not only gives you the perfect group of advocates, it can also make exercise much more fun. Take a walk with your husband or chase the kids around the yard. Toss a ball around at the park or take the family on a bike ride. Kill two birds with one stone — you will fit exercise into your day, but it will feel like play. (Plus, your family will think you’re the coolest mom ever!).
4. Find an Advocate
Enlist a friend with similar fitness goals and become each other’s advocates. Check in with your friend, encourage her and exercise together when you can. Adding a level of accountability keeps you from canceling workouts at the last minute. Do you want to admit to your support system that you’ve dropped the ball?
5. Break It Up
Instead of trying to fit an hour-long work out into your morning, break your exercise up into multiple 10-minute spurts of activity. A brisk 10-minute walk can boost your mood and your energy level. Rather than costing you time during your workday, a few short breaks can actually make your time more focused and productive. It’s a win-win.