Updated: Apr 30
As if you don’t already have enough on your plate, here comes another person trying to stress you about working out regularly. I get it though…. for some the thought of doing something that would seem to tire them out even more doesn’t sound quite encouraging. But I’m going to share why it’s important for you to keep fit, as well as ideas on how you can bypass some of the barriers we can face as working mums.
Why should mums work out
The advantages of exercise are too many to ignore. But let’s just focus on the day-to-day benefits. When you exercise, your body releases hormones and chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These naturally help relieve stress, as well as raise your energy levels leaving you with a runners high which can have a positive impact your mood and overall sense of wellbeing (1). Plus setting and meeting exercise-related goals can also boost your confidence and sense of control.
So in terms of your mental and physical health, regular exercising is very useful. Exercise basically wakes up your body and prepares you for the tasks ahead, as well as increase your self-esteem, leaving you with the vitality to do anything you need to do.
For those who don’t enjoy exercising as much, the National Health Service in the UK, recommends just 75 minutes of energetic activity every week (2), which is what you can stick to if you are a beginner or really pressed for time.
Finding the time
With a lot of things going on in our lives, I know it can be hard to imagine where we would find the time to go for a jog or do a bit of yoga, but below are a few ideas to help you get creative with your time.
First thing in the morning. Before you start to convince yourself of all the things that need to be urgently done. You can just wake up a little earlier, and get it out of the way. This is my favourite as I incorporate it into my morning routine and don’t have to think about it for the remainder of the day.
If you are a night owl then in the evening when the little ones have gone to sleep can be a good time also. I know you may be exhausted at this point, so you can even alternate your evenings between exercising and watching a show or working on your side hustle so you can give your body days off.
On your lunch break. Once a week I used to take an extended break for a boxercise class + shower, and just made up for the time during the rest of the week. I particularly like this one as it can feel like you are just "sneaking" in i.e a jog (or something) during your work hours, without impacting the rest of your day. If you let your team members know, maybe you can get them to join in as well.
Carve some time during the weekends. No school run means more time in your pocket, use this time period if it’s all you’ve got to spare. Distract the kids with some colouring-in or some toys and off you go!
Feel free to experiment with any of these ideas or mix them up to keep things fresh for you, it’s all about finding the routine that you can accommodate in your lifestyle.
Work out ideas
There are a lot of gadgets, apps, and personal trainers out there, and if you have one that works for you, keep at it. If not, the good thing about modern times is that you can jump on a platform such as YouTube, type in any time duration of your choice followed by the word “exercise” or “pilates” and boom… you have an exercise programme customised to your time limits, nice a flexible, just how we mums like it.
You also don’t have to be a Billy-no-mates, once things get better, getting out the house and taking part in a social activity such as rowing or tennis can also be great, but I get it if you can’t.. just wanted to put it on your radar as another option.
Exercising in front of your children is also a great way to model healthy habits, so if you can, take them to the park and exercise whilst they run around on the climbing frames, or take them cycling with you or get them to join in with the squats and star jumps, or a dance class, the possibilities are endless.
As busy mothers, our minds and our bodies are our most valuable assets, hence why we need to take care of them. Regular exercise can position us to be in the best shape to tackle our days and goals. As a mother myself, I know that things can happen i.e baby falls sick, household emergency etc, which may throw off your routine. Totally fine, take care of yourself and your family first, and just jump back on your regular routine after a couple of days. The aim is to create a healthy long-lasting habit that complements your journey through motherhood.