To exercise or not to exercise? Seems like a simple question but, in reality, it’s not that simple when you are a mom of 2 young kids. The real question is where do I find the time and what do I have to give up in order to make it happen? It should not be that way but, alas, that is often what it comes down to. In the first few years of being a mom, I have admittedly neglected to consistently take care of myself mentally and physically. By the time my second (my daughter) turned 2, I had cancelled my gym membership altogether because it had gone without use for too long anyways. But is that really fair? And I don’t just mean is it fair to me. Is it really helping my kids if I am not taking care of myself, not improving my quality of life, not giving myself a chance to focus on me?
Its take a few years but I have slowly started to focus more on the areas of my life that have been neglected. Cleaning, decluttering, mental health, and physical health are all connected. When you start improving 1 of these things, you find that you have more time and will power to also then begin focusing on the others as well. Many days these are the moments where I find the “something good”. The feeling of “I took care of myself today” or “I let myself breathe and re-energized today” go a long way in changing my outlook!
I will talk more about my journey to this point later but it started with simple decluttering, which led to wanting a better system for keeping up with cleaning and organization. From there I found I had some time in my mornings to meditate and breathe for a bit, focusing on my mental health at the start of each day. With less “stuff” pick up, a clear plan for cleaning a little each day, I now have some pockets of time for my own mental and physical health! Whoa! Mind blown!
The challenge often is, however, that I have to be extremely planful and precise with the precious minutes I do have to exercise. A 15 minute round trip to and from the gym is 15 minutes I typically do not have. So I try to get creative and eliminate commute time, I have enough of that to and from work 5 days a week! Here are my 6 favorite “mom approved” ways for exercising. These are in no particular order!
- At Home Treadmill: In the past, I have enjoyed finding ways to work out that didn’t involve walking on a 4 foot long treadmill or elliptical with one endless, stationary view in front of me. Sometimes that is necessary and I resort to the treadmill in the spare room of my house. We found a cheap but reliable Weslo Cadence treadmill on Amazon that came with free shipping and ended up being a fairly quick assembly with minimal frustration! Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007O5B0LC/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Zumba Class: When I have a weekend day or a rare kids free evening, I also enjoy going to a local gym or rec center and paying a few dollars for a Zumba class. The time goes by fast, you can go simple or go hard depending on your fitness level, and you can burn a TON of calories. Most of all it is fun!
- Pop Sugar Fitness: Another great “at home” workout is trying out free fitness workout videos. All you need is a space and a TV/iPad/Phone/etc. Some workouts use weights or other equipment but generally you can get by just using your own body! They offer a lot tips and articles as well for strength training exercises and stretching! Check them out here: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/
- Outdoor Walk: Perhaps my favorite, most re-energizing, way to exercise is to take a walk. If I have literally only 20-30 minutes, I will just walk around my neighborhood. If I have a few extra minutes, I drop the kids at school and drive 2 minutes down the street to a local park with walking trails through the woods. This may not be a high intensity cardio workout as I am not a runner, but it combines an effort to get some moderate exercise in as well as some mental health care. Outdoor walking allows for more resistance, particularly along trails, as there are hills and stairs, etc. This allows me to keep at a more comfortable walking pace but also get my heart rate up and give my body a good workout. I spend time appreciating the beauty and nature around mine. I admire older couples taking walks together, people walking their beloved dogs, other moms pushing their babies in strollers, etc. This truly gives me a workout that holds so much more value than just improved physical health!
- Dance Parties: Can’t get a workout in sans kiddos? No problem, my kids love to crank up the radio or a fun playlist of music and have a dance party! Just dance crazy, laugh, have fun together. You will be surprised how out of breath you get after a 15 minute dance party!
- Cosmic Yoga: More of a low intensity workout but something that you also can do with the kids! As a bonus, it helps you be able to teach your kids about wellness and holistic health, in addition to the importance of stretching and exercising your body. There are bright colors, great graphics, and the yoga keeps kids attention because it is done through storytelling! Their official website (https://www.cosmickids.com/) has some free videos of different time frames and some resources for helping teach kids yoga. The Cosmic Kids app has a 14 day free trial and then a monthly subscription for access to all of their material. However, you can also find them on YouTube with some great free yoga workouts. We love doing Cosmic Yoga this way because we can pull it up on our SmartTV or Amazon Firestick and have fun together. Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
The great things about some of these way to exercise is that I can include by kids when necessary. We can go for a walk together and collect flowers, rocks, leaves, etc. They can walk or I can push them in the stroller. They also love to jump in and do the exercise videos with me, get lost in a dance party, or mellow out and center themselves with some fun yoga. Even with extremely limited time and/or resources there is a way to fit something into many days that helps me improve my physical health and get some exercise in. I may not be running a marathon any time soon or losing 20 pounds in 1 month, but I am improving my health and well being one step at a time!
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