I’ve been working a lot with mothers lately in the fitness area – those who have children, are married, and many who also work out of the home. The one question that they all seem to have, and that they can’t seem to answer, is this: How do I fit in time for a workout when I have barely enough time to get everything else done?
We all know the great benefits of exercise. Besides a dwindling waistline, getting the heart rate up can prevent against diseases such as stroke, can lift our moods, and can increase the brain’s feel-good chemicals, which is necessary when you are dragging from working too much, taking care of family too much, and just doing way too much laundry!
So, I thought I’d post about this today, in hopes that some of the tips I pass along can help you figure out a way to get in at least half an hour of exercise as many days a week as you can!
Keep in mind a few tips. First, if you are looking to lose weight you’ll need to cut back 250 calories per day and then burn off that many per day, to create a deficit of 3,500 calories in a week (one pound).
The food you eat matters! Stick with lean proteins (chicken, fish), lots of fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains (also good for the ticker!), and drink loads of water.
For those with limited time here is the good news: It has been reported that you can reap the benefits of exercise by fitting in a few short sessions each day (at least ten minutes, three times a day, for thirty minutes per day). I’ve found it’s best if you can do it all at once, though, so that you can be sure to fit it in.
Oftentimes those that keep up a morning routine stay with it longer. It’s tough to get moving after a long day at work when there is still homework to help with, dinner to cook, and kids to bathe. If you change your schedule a bit you can get up earlier each morning and work in a walk, some weights, and a few minutes of yoga to prepare you for the day, all before the kids rise.
Mix cardio with resistance. Pick up some ten pound weights and work your biceps and triceps. Research shows that even after you stop with the weights your body continues to burn calories, and resistance and weights are a great way to build lean muscle mass. Plus weight lifting helps with your bones as you age. You won’t get all buff like some women fear. Do a few sets of reps (ten to twelve) with ten pound weights. Even better: Work your muscle until it can’t go any further.
Do it when you can. If you can’t fit in a half hour in the morning, or forty five minutes, then do a little in the morning (for instance, take a walk before the kids wake up) and then a little in the evening (half an hour of weights and/or yoga). Get down on the floor and do some ab exercises. Lift weights while you watch television at night. Sneak in some stretching while the kids play at the park.
Find a buddy. Some people work out best when surrounded by others. Buddies can help motivate you, get you out of bed in the morning, and listen as you complain about sore muscles.
Take a few classes or hire a personal trainer. Just one or two of these and you will learn more about how to exercise than you will if you try to do it at home. The key, though, is to pay attention to your form. Make sure you know how to do the exercises before you do them alone, because many people get injured when they start experimenting at home.
Which leads me to magazines! Magazines are also great, and a cheaper alternative to learning exercises in many cases. Pick up some of the workout magazines for women. I like Shape, Oxygen, Fitness, and Runner’s World (though the latter is more for those who run often than for those looking for a rounded workout routine).
If you are a new mother, check out local classes that combine fitness and babies. That way you can work out while with your child. You don’t have to worry about germy daycare centers in the gym or not getting the exercise in at all. Plus, you meet great friends!
The key is to make working out a priority. I’ll post tips on this at a later time, along with some exercises you can easily do at home-or at the park, while your kids practice soccer!
For now, just put on your walking shoes and get outside!