You have the best intentions. You plan to wake up early and work out before the kids get up. You even plug your phone in across the room so that you have to get out of bed. But, the baby cries all night, and your toddler is up at the crack of dawn. Sigh… you tap your alarm to off.
“Maybe I can slip in a workout during their nap?” you wonder. But, of course, they don’t nap at the same time. One of them (or all of them, if you have more than one!) needs you all the time.
It’s hard to exercise with little people hanging off of you.
Your plan to work out after they go to bed is shot, too. By then you’re so exhausted and can’t even get off the couch (except to grab some popcorn).
I know, exercising when you have littles running around is hard. But I promise you, it’s not impossible.
Today, I’m going to give some exercise tips for busy moms with little kids. I know it already feels like you’re getting plenty of exercise chasing those kiddos around. But I can tell already that you’re desiring to be more intentional in your physical fitness.
That’s for a good reason–moving is great for our bodies. It also helps us manage stress and sleep better when we get it.
Here are a few tips that are going to help make your workouts—and your little one’s time around your workouts–much more enjoyable.
1. BUSY MOMS DO AN EXERCISE REALITY CHECK.
This is a busy season of life. Whether you’ve been an elite athlete or a couch potato, you have an expectation of what a workout routine should look like for you.
Unfortunately, those routines are not informed by your real life. What’s the available time, energy and resources that you have?
Pause and take an honest look.
- How much time can you realistically fit in?
- Do you have resources to spend? Will you need to buy equipment or memberships?
- How much energy will you have left at the end of the day?
It’s good to push ourselves a little bit, but we do also want to be realistic. If it’s only five minutes that you can start with and do consistently, that’s amazing—start there and it’s going to be awesome!
Most importantly, take a realistic evaluation and try not to get into the diet mindset in your exercise.
What’s the diet mindset? It’s this all-or-nothing. If I can’t do it the perfect way, I’m not going to do it at all.
But then we miss out on all the benefits that happen with even these short periods of time.
RELATED POST: How to Start Exercising (when you really don’t want to)
2. BUSY MOMS GIVE THEIR CHILD A “WORKOUT TOY.”
Get a toy that your child can only use during your workout. What you choose will vary from age to age, and the amount of playtime that you’re going to get out of that toy will vary as well (this will also inform your available time).
A special toy will give them something to look forward to. They will start associating this with a time they need to calm down. And, they can learn to entertain themselves while mom is busy.
Guess what! They’ll be just fine!
3. BUSY MOMS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WALKS.
While walks may not always work for you seasonally (where you live could be really hot or cold), walks are an awesome way to get moving and to get your little one outside.
During a walk, you can do sprints which are a super-effective way to get your body into burn mode for up to 24 hours. Simply walk from light pole to light pole and then run from light pole to light pole for a minimum of 6 sets.
It’s a great way to increase your heart rate and your calorie burn. Plus, if your child can talk, they’re going to ask you to “run, mommy run!” (look at you raising a little personal trainer). This will keep your workout going and your wee one happy.
I also like to add in strength-training exercises such as walking lunges. If you have a bench in the area, you can stop and do tricep dips or push ups. Sometimes I even pause in the middle of the sidewalk and do some squats.
It’s all great and it’s all game…and it keeps things entertaining for your kiddo.
4. BUSY MOMS EMBRACE EXERCISE AT HOME.
One great way to train at home is with high-intensity interval training–referred to as HIIT. These are workouts where you mix periods of work with times of rest, as we discussed in the section above.
During a HIIT session, you may do jumping jacks for 30 seconds and then walk in place for 30 seconds; add burpees for 30 seconds and then walk in place for one minute. The idea is to push it until you feel your tank drain (you’ll know it) and then rest until you feel ready to go again (your body, not your mind).
You can also train at home with things like squats, lunges, push ups, or planks. Any exercise that uses body weight or weights to raise your heart rate, and then gives you a moment of rest, is considered HIIT.
The beauty of these particular types of workouts is that they create what is called an oxygen deficit. You’re panting and breathing so hard that you can hardly get enough air in. You’re working really, really hard. This deficit of oxygen is actually going to increase your metabolism as your body recovers up to 24 hours after the workout.
Search YouTube for a “10-minute HIIT workout” and you’re going to find a ton of options that will kick your butt in just a few minutes.
Also, check out the post, The Simple Workout Template That Will Make You WANT to Exercise and download the free printable.
5. BUSY MOMS BRING EXERCISE INTO THEIR DAILY LIVES.
When you really want to get serious about exercise, you need to make it part of your routine. To create a habit, we need a cue to do the habit.
Consider walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge. You know that habit very well. How about every time you open and close the fridge, you do a push up?
Every time I go to the restroom, I’m going to do three squats after I wash my hands. When I’m washing dishes, I’m going to stand on one foot. Whenever a commercial plays, I’m going to do a plank.
Mix your exercise throughout your day in any way that you can. If you really want to be consistent with it and not forget, you need to tie it to another activity (that you preferably do often).
I hope that you found these tips helpful. These are just some simple ways to get workouts in, with little ones around the house, that don’t require you to get up at 4:30 in the morning, although that can work, too.
Please comment below if you have questions or if you need any helps with your busy mom exercise.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.