Once you become a parent, it's a lot more difficult to make time for yourself. If you’re a working parent, choosing to go workout when you’ve finished work can feel self-indulgent. If you’re a single parent, it’s even harder...if not impossible.
We’ve come up with some tips for getting into an exercise routine for long term success.
WHEN: Choose a time of the day that consistently works for you/your family. For me, it’s 6 am for 30 mins before everyone else gets up. It does mean I'm more tired earlier in the evenings, but I love having that time to myself every morning.
ENJOY: Choose an exercise that you enjoy. I know they always say this, but it’s true. Whether it’s playing table tennis, hiking or yoga, choose something that keeps you coming back and preferably raises your heart rate, so you are reaping the benefits. If there's not one thing, keep trying new things until you find your interest. We are lucky enough to have a peloton bike at home. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
GUILT-FREE: Don’t feel guilty! This is a BIG one. Kids NEED to see their parents take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Setting an example by showing your babies that you exercise is important - they are more likely to choose a healthier path for themselves.
FOCUS: Don’t only focus on how you want to look-do it for how it makes you feel and let the physical improvements be a side-effect.
MOOD: Exercise is a known mood booster. So, build upon your little successes-maybe it was a little easier today? Or you recovered a little faster? It’s about the little things.
GET SOCIAL: Be part of a community. Parenthood can be isolating, so find a way to join others-you may find like-minded people with similar goals that you can work on together: stroller strides is a great place to start.
SUPPORT: Get the support of your partner. Tell them your goals and get their buy-in. Maybe they will want to join you? Maybe you can trade-off? One can work out while the other is with the baby and then switch. But ask for what you want.
EXPECT LESS: Start small and lower your expectations. When you don’t see a difference after a week, don’t quit. Remember the real reasons you’re doing this: the feeling of pride when you haven’t quit, self-care and time for yourself, setting a healthy example for your family and the looong game of a healthy lifestyle.
FIND THE LIGHT: So, you ate some cake and you didn’t work out this morning. Don’t get down on yourself. Find something that either was positive about the day (maybe you took the dog for a walk) or create something positive now. Go get those 3 lb weights and do a 10 min arm work out right there in the chair, the same chair where you ate the cake. Reframe it and set your intentions for tomorrow.
BODY POSITIVITY: Surround yourself with body-positive people who have a healthy outlook. In the age of social media, it’s easy to be influenced by images of gorgeous young women who have seemingly had 4 kids without a stretch mark or leftover roll(s) of sagging skin in sight! If there’s one thing that will send you straight to the cookie stash it’s an all-day exercising, paleo eating IG model. Find the influencers who will influence a healthier thought process. I LOVE @thebirdspapaya and @rebeccaswiss on Instagram.
EN-GARDE: Exercise should be part of a lifestyle, not just after the holidays... or before a beach one. Whatever you choose to do, try to be consistent and set that time aside. The hard part is finding the time-if you don’t protect that time and show up, it can easily slide away. Some days you’ll be more effective than others, but consistency is key-GUARD that time.
We hope some of these tips are helpful to you. Let us know your progress!
Be sure to get the all-clear from your doctor before returning to exercise.