With the start of a new year, many of us have made resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle, including regular exercise. However, when you’re a mom of young kids, keeping up an exercise routine can become incredibly difficult. There is always someone who needs your time and attention, and unless you make it a high priority, squeezing in that workout can often get shoved on the backburner.
I struggled for a long time to work in workouts with young kids at home. A lot of the time, I would start strong and eventually give up because it was too difficult. I was too tired by the time they went to bed. I was too distracted when they were next to me. I would always bail when I made plans to leave the house to hit the gym.
However, when it finally become important enough to me (somewhere around the time my preschooler asked if there was a baby in my belly), I found ways around my own excuses. Here are a few tips that have helped me get my sweat on, even with three little kids at home.
- Get Your Zumba On – YouTube has a wealth of workout videos, and plenty of them are set to fun, upbeat music (like zumba!) that kids tend to love. Whether my kids are dancing around me or trying to learn the choreography alongside me, it gives them enough entertainment for me to get a good workout in before they realize that this activity is for me and not them. Another plus to workout videos is that it usually wears my kids out, which is a special kind of godsend during winter when they are going stir-crazy. Last time we did a 40 minute zumba video, my oldest two decided it was time to go take a rest afterward of their own accord. #Blessed
- Seize the morning – One of my biggest problems was coming to the end of the day and being way too exhausted to workout. When you have kids at home, they tend to wear you down throughout the day. By the time they are in bed, sitting down to unwind while watching TV seems a much more relaxing choice than gearing up to hit the gym. Even though I’m not a morning person, I found that working out first thing in the morning (even if it’s a quick 5-15 minutes) really helps my energy throughout the day. It actually makes me more likely to workout in the evening as well, because I’m still riding the high of feeling healthy from my first workout.
- Make plans with someone else – Even when I would make a specific schedule to go running in the afternoons when my husband came home from work, I never stuck to it. Taking that first step out the door is hard, especially when there is no one keeping you accountable. I would often make excuses about how my husband could use help with the kids or how I really ought to get dinner started, because truthfully, I just didn’t feel like running. Making plans to workout with a friend is the best way to overcome the convenient excuses you make for yourself. I’m much less likely to bail on plans in the 11th hour if I know someone else is counting on me, so finding a workout buddy makes a huge difference in whether or not I stick to my workout schedule. The added accountability definitely ups your chances of sticking with it.
- Work toward a specific goal – It’s easy to get sidetracked from your workout schedule, especially if your goal is simply “to work out.” Working out for the sake of working out usually isn’t enough motivation to maintain a fitness routine. Instead, set a specific goal that you want to reach, like running a half-marathon or completing a 30-day challenge to keep you on task. Tell friends or find others to workout with you to give you that added accountability and start a new course of action once you’ve finished.
Get active with the kids – Even with all the good intentions and plans in the world, it can still be really hard to fit in workouts around the busy schedules of multiple kids. So why not take playtime and turn it into your own personal workout? Bike, hike, play ball, run around!Instead of sitting on the sidelines and scrolling Instagram at the park, use that time to play with your kids. You might feel silly doing monkey bars and playing chase, but your kids will love it and you’ll burn some calories while you’re at it.