Hopefully by now your family is settling into some semblance of a routine. Whether your kids are in school full time, you have preschool a few days a week, you homeschool, or you are still in the baby stage with kids home all day, I think we can all marvel at how much we tend to already have accomplished by 7am most mornings. But mamas, how many of you are also completely drained by about 9am?
It seems counter-intuitive, but regular exercise is the best antidote to flailing energy levels. Adding exercise to your routine will boost energy, improve sleep, increase mental focus, brighten mood, build strength, stamina, and improve overall health.
Your fitness routine could look as loose or as structured as you need it to be. You need to find something that matches your personality, goals, and lifestyle. After years of wading through the hectic family-life waters, my husband and I have found what works for us to keep us consistently working out. We’ve evolved from daily stroller runs and bike rides, to too many kids to fit in a jogging stroller, to too many responsibilities to ever work out together, to too tired to even workout, to realizing how much better we are as humans when we make fitness a priority.
Routines are not synonymous with rigid schedules. Depending on your personality and what your daily life looks like, you can be as loose or as structured as need be. Dictionary.com defines “routine” as “a customary or regular course of procedure.” For some people that might literally have to mean writing a 7am run on your calendar, but for me it means ‘I workout on Mondays.’ It’s something that you have to do consistently and over time to make it stick.
As a busy mama, here are the first steps to follow to put your plan into action:
- Decide on how many days per week you will workout. Be realistic with your time. Aim for three days a week, for at least 30 minutes. But remember, more/longer isn’t necessarily better and anything is good.
- Arrange childcare. Will you workout at home very early before your spouse leaves for work? Do you belong to a gym with childcare? Will you be involving your child in your workout and using that jogging stroller to the fullest?
- Determine which types of workouts you want to do. (What will you stick with?)
As an example, this is what my fitness routine looks like:
- Work out at least three, preferably four-five days a week. In general, I aim for M, W, F and one longer workout on the weekends. If I miss a day because of life, I squeeze something in the next day.
- Rotation of workouts. I prefer to cross-train, so I rotate cardio, strength, yoga, and some sort of gym fitness class into each week.
- Wear workout clothes on workout days. Some days just don’t go as planned, so if I don’t have time to get my workout in one morning, I put on my workout clothes and then squeeze things in throughout the day. C’mon mama, fit it in!
For years I have not belonged to a gym and just done my workouts solo. However, I have found that I push way harder when I workout in a group, so I strive to make it to a group fitness class once a week. Logistically that’s the most I can do right now, but it gives a good balance of the solitude and quiet time I enjoy when running or swimming and the motivation and camaraderie of like-minded fit buddies.