1. Be kind to yourself
Forgive yourself if you are not moving in ways that you have in the past. Be patient with your body by expecting, slower incremental progress. If you are a mom who has been cleared by your doctor to exercise post-partum, be mindful of the changes that your body has experienced after childbirth. Celebrate your body for the miraculous purpose that it served in carrying and delivering a baby before cautiously returning to regular exercise. Whether you are a new mom who is aiming to return to pre-pregnancy size, or a seasoned mamma who is seeking sustained energy, staying fit with young children requires creativity, flexibility and a whole lot of patience.
2. Listen to your body
You may be eager to begin a new routine, or excited to advance to another phase of fitness, but tune into what your body is telling you. If you are feeling pain in a specific area, or feeling abnormally fatigued, don’t feel guilty about taking a day or two to rest and restore.
3. Manage your time wisely
It’s possible that there was a time in your life when you could schedule two-a-day workouts, or could spend unlimited hours hitting the weights at the gym. When you are pressed for time, efficient workouts such as Tabata style, or circuit training are your best friends. YouTube has an extensive library of free fitness videos within a variety of timeframes. As life happens, you may find that the best time is “right now” even if you are only able to do a few stretches and jump squats at one point of the day and 15 push-ups during another. Seize moments that pop-up unexpectedly to burn some calories.
4. Let your kids coach you
Little ones love telling their parents what to do and tend to be natural cheerleaders. Play an upbeat song and let the kids be your dance teacher. Engage in a game where the kids shout out various animals to imitate. After jumping like a Kangaroo, or sprinting like a Cheetah you could reach 30 minutes of cardio before you know it. The bonus is that the time will fly as you have fun being silly with your little trainers.
5. Create a family culture of fitness
Take a walk while the children ride bikes, have a dance party in the kitchen, or go for a hike/nature stroll at a nearby park. Creating a habit of activity that involves everyone will ensure that you have a built-in accountability system and makes for some wonderful bonding time.
6. Build “me” time into your weekly schedule
If sharing space with the kids while you exercise is not your thing, plan to carve out weekly time to be active on your own. Enlist the help of your partner, family member, or a sitter to keep the kids occupied during specific days of the week so that you can go outside for a run, or begin a 30-day challenge accessible on your phone. You certainly deserve uninterrupted time away from parental responsibility for which everyone will benefit.
7. Set yourself up for success
Put your workout clothes on as soon as you walk into the house. Better yet, change into them before you leave work if you have time. Sometimes the hardest part is putting on the gear and you may be more likely to begin a workout if you are already dressed for it. Keep gym equipment such as free weights, mats, and fitness bands accessible in your home so that you can quickly assemble your space. With a little preparation and motivating self-talk, you will find your in-home exercise groove.
8. Fuel up
Eat a healthy snack before leaving work so that you are reaching your doorstep with the energy to get busy. The snack should be comprised of just enough fuel and nutrients to reduce any sluggishness and provide a boost to help you move. Smoothies are ideal because they tend to be easy on the stomach and you can control the protein, carb and fat ratios. If blending a smoothie with a portable blender in your job’s kitchen area is not feasible, invest in a blender bottle that allows you to shake up a power-packed drink by hand.
9. Create goals
I know we hear this over and over, but that is because it works! The great thing about goals is that they are entirely yours and can take limitless shapes with both short-term and long-term targets. A few examples include being able to perform five push-ups in a row with perfect form or setting a personal-best goal for your next 5K, or being able to conquer the monkey bars like your 5-year-old.
10. Incorporate movement into your workday
If you have a desk job in which you are sitting idle at a computer for many hours, it is important to take breaks throughout the day to recharge and reenergize. Breaks are critical to our overall health and can be kicked up a notch with some time spent doing a stair run, taking a walk around the building or even doing chair yoga. Build community among co-workers by organizing a stair-climbing club, or walking group. The encouragement of others may help you overcome the hardest part of being active at work, which is often getting out of the chair.
Contributed by: Nyjah Wyche-Alexis, Precision Nutrition Coach
Nyjah loves to write, eat, move and sleep- all interests that have been at times beautifully enhanced, and at other times severely disrupted by her growing family. She has been in the health industry for over 15 years and most recently added Precision Nutrition Coach to her profile. Helping people make healthy, realistic food choices is Nyjah’s passion. Nyjah is a wife to Fitness Coach, Fendy Alexis and a mom to three adorable, energetic boys.