Scheduling Work Outs: When Is YOUR Best Time to Exercise?
Since having children, working out has taken on a new meaning. I used to be able to go whenever I wanted: before work, in the middle of the afternoon while in college, at the end of the workday during those first few years of teaching school.
With kids, it’s tougher to stick to a schedule. When the girls were babies, I went before they woke; but that was only if they slept well throughout the night, which meant, in turn, I slept well. If we were up and down every few hours I skipped the workout and tried to make it up during the day.
Thankfully, my girlfriends chipped in and bought a jogging stroller for me when I was pregnant with my first; that stroller lasted through both girls, many runs, and then, when the girls were too big for it, I sold it to a friend who had just had a baby. When I couldn’t get up and go early, I got up and went with baby in the stroller. Some of my best runs in those earlier years were when my kids had their snack in the stroller while I jogged around The Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
These days I still try to get up and get it done when I first wake. Some studies suggest those who schedule early morning workouts are more likely to stick to a routine, which is great for those of us who can get it in as the sun rises. I find this is true for me, because once the girls are up and I start working there’s little chance I will stop doing what I’m doing to squeeze in a forty minute run.
That said, I feel the best time to work out is whenever it works for YOU. If you belong to a gym and enjoy classes, working out mid-morning may be best. If your husband gets off of work early enough that you can go when he gets home, evenings might be best. If you can get up by 5:30 and fit in a workout, that’s great.
So what do you do if you are short on time but want to lose some baby weight?
Try to get in at least thirty minutes of something most days of the week. For instance, put the baby in the stroller and walk or jog. When you get home, get down on the floor for five or ten minutes while baby plays and do a variety of core work, like planks, crunches or the hundred.
Don’t get frustrated if the plans don’t work out. I used to get upset if I was up all night and couldn’t fit in a run until I realized I could, most of those days, find thirty minutes to do something. It might mean I head out after the kids are in bed for the night or I fit it in between mommy and me and a doctor’s appointment, but if I wanted to run, I would find the time.
Do an exercise routine that focuses on all over conditioning if you are short on time. I like to combine arms and abs on a day I’m doing a short cardio workout, so I can get in an all-over body workout. I might run for thirty minutes; do one hundred core type exercises, like crunches, the hundred, crunches on the exercise ball, or side and front planks; use hand weights for bicep curls; and finish up with tricep dips on my coffee table. Getting in shape doesn’t require hours at the gym; you can do it with as little as thirty to forty minutes most days of the week as long as you focus on all-around body conditioning.