Exercise Tips for Moms – What to Do
- Move your body for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of each week. Do something that increases your heart rate moderately and works up a bit of a sweat. Do something you enjoy – walk, bike, play outside with the kids, do Zumba, take an exercise class, work out to a video – whatever works for you. You don’t have to go to a gym or an exercise class! You can get up and move at home, at work, or just about anywhere.
- Spend less time sitting. Move as much as possible throughout the day. If you have a sedentary job (like I do) get up and move often. I try to get up and walk around my office building at least twice a day, as well as walk for 20 minutes at lunch. When you’re at home, do as many tasks as possible while standing or walking. Plan your daily activities in ways that make you walk more, not less. And limit the time you spend watching TV and other sedentary activities.
- Strengthen your muscles. Two or three days per week, do exercises that build muscle strength. This is my least favorite kind of exercise, so I struggle to do it consistently. This year I’m forcing myself to do it 3 days a week, right after I get home from work. You can do it at a gym, or as part of a fitness class or workout, or at home with little or no equipment. I use just a few inexpensive hand weights, plus bodyweight activities like push-ups and squats. If you don’t know how to get started, find an exercise routine or program from a reputable source, like Prevention or Women’s Health.
- Stretch your body several days per week. The expert advice on stretching is somewhat mixed; some people advise stretching as a way to warm up before aerobic exercise, while others recommend stretching after exercise, when your muscles are warmed up. Do a bit of research to find stretching exercises that work for you. Or start with this Stretching 101 Guide from Prevention.
- Schedule it. Look at your calendar at the beginning of every week and schedule time for exercise on at least 5 days. Consider this time to be a set appointment, just like the other appointments you make and things you commit to do every week. If you don’t schedule it, it probably won’t happen.
- Break it up. If you can’t exercise for 30 minutes at a time, break it into 2 15-minute or 3 10-minute segments.
- Fit it into your daily activities. Find ways to work exercise into your day. This is the key for busy moms! If you’re sitting, get in the habit of thinking, “Could I be moving instead?” Walk while your children are at sports practices or lessons. Walk during your lunch hour. Do strength training or flexibility exercises while watching television. When shopping, park in a central location and walk to several stores.
- Wear a fitness tracker or pedometer and accumulate steps throughout the day. I’ve used a FitBit for years to track my steps and make sure I get 10,000 steps a day, at least 5 days a week. It keeps me motivated and gets me up and moving when I see that my step count is low. You can also use an inexpensive pedometer or step counter.
- Do it together. Walk with your husband after dinner. Ride bikes or play outside with your children. Enlist co-workers to walk or work out with you before, during or after work. If you’re at home with young children, find other moms and walk or workout together.
- Find creative ways to be active. Figure out practical ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule, such as 25 Easy Ways to Fit in 10 Minutes of Exerciseor The 25-Minute Office Workout. And develop some active interests with your husband or family, activities that keep you moving while you’re having fun together.
Ok ladies, now it’s our turn to chat about this and connect with each other.
I really want to hear what you think about this. Whether you work at home or outside of the home, I know you are busy. Are you able to find ways to exercise throughout the day? If so, how do you manage to fit activity in and what do you do? I really struggle with this because I am tied to a desk and computer for 8 hours a day. For those like me who struggle with fitting exercise into the day, which of Gaye’s tips seem reasonable to fit into your day? If you want to encourage each other and have an accountability group, maybe we can help set that up for you. Just leave me a comment and let me know if you would be interested in a Facebook group to encourage each other to move. Some of you are exercise superstars and others of us need some encouragement to simply walk a little more each day. Imagine what having a group of friends to encourage each other could do for our lives. Over on Instagram, I shared one my favorite sayings, “Empowered Women Empower Women.” This is my mantra as we create articles and programs for A Life Connected 365. Together, we can do anything. Till next time, “Keep Connecting!”