five ways to find time to exercise when you have small children (no, really!!)

Now that I have FINALLY handed in my last assessments for my Cert III in Fitness I have a wee bit of time on my hands again. I say wee bit, because who actually has time when they’re looking after the kids from 8am-630pm? The days are exhausting, and the nights fly by at break neck speed whilst you zombie through the dishes and maybe an episode of Game of Thrones before collapsing into bed. No rest for the wicked though, because that little deed you did 9 months, 18 months, 3 years ago, created some delicious little beings who – not satisfied with zapping you of all independence during the day – also like to wake you a couple of times a night for nourishment (be that dietary or emotional).

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Finding time to exercise may seem impossible when you can barely find time to wee alone, but I’m telling you, it is possible. Whether you goal is to fit into your pre-baby jeans, to facilitate more energy and better sleep, or simply to have some time to your self, you CAN find time each week to squeeze in some exercise. And trust me, you’ll feel better for it.

The best bit? No gym membership required. Although if you do have one, and they have a creche, what are you reading this for? Go on, go!

All it takes is a little creativity (and if you like, some equipment) and you’ll be exercising in no time. (NB, if you’re freshly post partum, *please* get the ok from your doctor before exercising, and always listen to your body!)

Jump rope for heart. Remember back in primary school when most morning and lunch breaks were spent skipping and Criss Cross and Double Dutch were an integral part of your vocabulary? Skipping is an awesome cardiovascular work out that makes use of your legs, core, arms and shoulders and according to the British Rope Skipping Association, 10 minutes on the rope has the same health benefits as a 45 minute jog. Most days I can’t find a consecutive 45 minute block, but I can grab 10 minutes here and there. Just be mindful of your pelvic floor… if skipping is too much, put it on the back burner for a while and spend some time on your pelvic floor muscles.

Take the pram. When my daughter was born I walked every day from about 1 week post partum. We’d get dressed in the morning and head out the door as my husband left for work. We lived in a hilly area so pushing the pram for 45-90 minutes up and down hills was not only a great cardiovascular work out, my legs, core and arms all got in on the action too. I loved feeling strong as I pushed the pram up hills, and I loved how engaged my core felt as I held on tight on the down gradients! Pushing two kids takes things to a whole other level. Our Strider Plus 4 with added toddler seat is about 18kg all up. Add 20kg of baby and it ain’t just a walk in the park.

triple running pramI wish I was this determined/motivated/crazy… image from here!

Play tag with a mate. This is my new favourite way to run. Invite a friend and their kids over for a playdate and a turn each to go for a solo run whilst the other person manages the kids. You both get a run in, the kids hang out together (and hopefully wear themselves out!) and it’s a short enough time frame that you can time runs around breastfeeds or naps. It’s win/win/win really. Oh, and … e n d o r p h i n s …

Utilise nap times. I know, sometimes getting kids to sleep is so exhausting that you feel like a nap yourself once they finally go down. Sometimes you really just need to take the clothes off the line that have been there for a week. Other times it’s the only chance you’ll have for a cup of tea and a shower all day. I get it. Trust me though – a little bit of you time will pay dividends. So stretch for five minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil (or try the My Five Minute Yoga app), make a work out out of the washing (do squats or lunges each time you reach down to pick something out of the basket) or do a few laps up and down the staircase. A little goes a long way. And if you’re lucky enough to have kids who nap for hours on end – at the same time (I’m not jealous at all) – then try out an online class like those offered through My Yoga Online or InstructorLive.

Break it up. You don’t have to have a large block of time to work out. To the contrary, breaking up your activity into 10-15 minute chunks is a great way to squeeze it in to your day. Yesterday I did 5 minutes of dynamic stretching, 5 minutes on the skipping rope and 5 minutes doing a little circuit of squats, lunges, tricep dips, planks, stair runs and sit ups and in 15 minutes I burnt 165 calories. All while the big girl painted in her high chair and the little boy watched on in wonder. 15 minutes is nothing… there are days when I vague out for 15 minutes on my iPhone whilst in the same room as my children, and call that parenting.

Being a parent to young children does not have to mean your health and fitness flies out the window… you might just have to readjust your workout expectations a tad.

Jenn xx

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Two Beautiful Bunnies

I'm a mama to two beautiful babies. I have started this blog to gather my thoughts and try to improve who I am as a person but particularly as a mother, wife, daughter and sister.

Gabrielle Bernstein, Inc.

Become the happiest person you know!

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