The dreaded “exercise” word. You’re thinking, I spend time at work, or ferrying kids, or changing nappies WHERE am I going to get the time to exercise? I KNOW that exercise is key for me to be an energised, healthy and happy mum, but it just seems so daunting.
Well, I also don’t mean exercise in that way (unless you want to), I mean get MOVING.
There are countless articles expressing the importance and health benefits of movement and encouraging our ever more sedentary society to get just 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s 20mins a day – not that much when you really think about it.
My biggest reasons for keeping exercise in my daily routine are to reduce stress, enhance my mood, boost my self-confidence, and definitely increase my energy and productivity.
So what can you do that is achievable? Because if you’re feeling overwhelmed or overly stressed adding an unrealistic target to “exercise” is not going to assist you in any way. Build it up slowly and incrementally.
Here are my top tips to keep you moving and energised:
Find the thing that works for you and start benefiting from it.
1. Be accountable
Get something that makes you accountable for your movement. I had my FitBit, now I have a watch but all our phones have step counters or health apps. Get your 10,0000 steps a day. It’s probably easier than you think. Just this one thing can transform your life.
2. Sitting is killing us
Our lives almost demand it of us. Sitting in front of our desk, sitting in the car, sitting or lying down while we read or watch TV. This short article from Harvard Medical School is a good reminder for me about the dangers of sitting. Knowing the dangers and acknowledging them helps me sit less.
- try standing when you take your calls,
- see if your work will assist with a sit-stand desk or set a timer for every 25-30mins to get up and move.
- Walk around your garden, go and stand outside, walk to get some water or a cup of coffee.
3. Find the exercise that you enjoy
As much as us busy mamas are so bloody knackered that we can’t even think about going for a walk let alone a run, we may have to force ourselves to initially because our body will respond by balancing our moods, reducing our cortisol and helping us sleep! This helps us cope with our crazy lives.
But do what you enjoy. If Pilates is your thing great! If not – don’t stress. I’ve recently taken up paddle boarding and I love it. I look forward to doing it, which makes me want to stick with it. Other activities you can do:
- Hoola hoop!
- Go for a walk (with your kids, baby or alone).
- Run around with your kids.
- Get a skipping rope. Did you know that skipping uses the whole body? You don’t have to do it for much time, burns a lot of energy, is relatively low impact and doesn’t leave you wiped for the next day.
- Dance. Even if you’re jumping around in ‘muddy puddles’ to Peppa Pig or embarrassing your teens trying out the latest TikTok routine.
What is it? High-Intensity Interval Training. These workouts include a combination of short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest in-between. So, your heart rate goes to about 80% and then you rest. HIIT training is especially useful when you have a busy schedule, needs no equipment and can be done in 15 – 30 mins depending on what you choose.
There are so many benefits of weight training (and no you won’t build muscle that fast that you look like a bodybuilder). It promotes fat loss, builds and strengthens muscles, and importantly, is proven to increase bone density and can prevent bone loss. This last point assists in reducing your risk of injury, can improve back pain and has known benefits for those with osteoporosis or arthritis.
Free fitness plan thanks to the NHS
Did you know that the NHS has free resources and advice for exercise? There’s no need to join an expensive programme. Check out their info here and they even have a free 12-week fitness plan – if that’s what floats your boat.
Remember this mantra above all else: PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION! Show up for yourself every day. Not every day is going to feel good, but the consistency will reward you.
And, if you’re looking for results like fat loss, 80% of it is in your nutrition and 20% in your activity. But also, it takes 4 weeks for you to start seeing results, 8 weeks for friends and family to pick up on changes, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to sit up and notice.
Keep your expectations of yourself and what is achievable in your circumstance reasonable.
Need more inspiration? Check out my 5 Mantras for exercising as a busy mum.
P.S. When you’re ready here are a few ways I can help…
- Download my free meal planner and save yourself hours and reduce your mental load.
- Subscribe and listen to my Healthy & Thriving Career Mums podcast all about health, habits and mindset for busy mums.
- Join our Healthy Thriving Career Mums community. The No.1 free group for career mums who want to build healthier habits and thrive.
- Get ‘The Busy Mums Guide To Healthy Habits’ – my e-book to help you build healthier & sustainable habits to thrive in 90 days.
- Do you need more support & accountability with your habits? I can help you with my 1-2-1 coaching.
** Disclaimer: The Content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional health, fitness or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding your health and fitness.