3 Tips for Fitting in Workouts
While working out is an important aspect in everyone’s life – it lowers blood pressure, helps with weight control, and enables us to let go of a little stress in a healthy way – it can be hard to fit it in. This is especially true for new moms and dads whose lives must be devoted to children and whose routines are pretty much controlled by what the kids need: feeding, naps, bedtime, doctor’s appointments, after school activities, and so on.
Yet we know if we want to help keep our stress levels low, we have to fit in time to exercise. There is this idea that we need an hour or so to get in a complete workout, but this isn’t true. Yes, it helps if you have a little more time. This way you can divvy up cardio and strength and allow enough minutes for a significant cool down. But if you are strapped for time, any workout is better than no workout.
Here are a few ways to get in a good workout when your focus must include watching the clock.
- Break it into chunks. While it’s important that we get cardio, strength, and flexibility training, who says it has to be all at the same time? If you have twenty minutes in the morning, strap on your shoes and go for a quick jog or brisk walk. Then if you have another twenty at lunchtime, pull your weights from the closet and do a strength workout. Fifteen minutes before bed, put down a yoga mat and do some stretching. Though you aren’t getting an hour block, that’s okay: You are still getting in a good workout.
- Multitask. I am on the fence about multitasking. I feel as parents we try to do it TOO much; at the same time, sometimes you just need to do two things at once! So if you HAVE to run errands and the store is a mile from your house, put baby in the stroller and jog (or walk) there, shop, and then return home. If you take your kids to the park each Wednesday morning after story time, wear your workout shoes and walk while they rest in the stroller after lunch. Though these may not be ideal workout situations, you’ll still get your heart rate pumping, which is what you want. (I used to do workouts at the park while my kids played: think lunges, sit ups, and jogs around the perimeter of the playground! Not ideal, and I didn’t make a habit of it, but if I just couldn’t get it in any other way, this is what I did.)
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have days when it just doesn’t work, even if our desire is very strong to make it work. If you miss a workout because you were up late with the kids, don’t get frustrated. Spend half an hour on the floor during naptime and do some crunches – or spend that time sleeping if that is what your body needs! Sometimes rest is more important to new parents than trying to shape up those abs!
How do you fit in a workout when you are short on time?
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