It’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed by the thought of finding time in an already-jammed calendar to work out. But it is possible, and we’ve got seven strategies to help you do it.
1. Be realistic
If we’re reasonable about the amount of time we can commit to our workouts, we can plan our fitness regime accordingly. Be honest with yourself when it comes to how often you can expect to exercise and for how long. Knowing whether you prefer to work out in the mornings, on your lunch hour, or in the evenings also helps with planning.
2. Block it out and commit to yourself
Once you’ve figured out the best time(s) for your workouts, block them out in your weekly calendar. If we’re serious about sticking to our fitness plans, we need to keep those appointments sacred. We go out of our way not to cancel our yearly doctor’s checkups or bail on plans with our friends, so we need to treat ourselves with the same type of respect. Commit to making yourself and your workouts a priority.
3. Partner up or partner off
Having accountability to others can be a great motivator when it comes to fitness. Make early morning or late evening running dates with one of your neighbours. Or instead of flaking out on the couch after the kids are in bed, try a weight or strength training program with your husband. If you’d rather exercise solo, trade off evenings with your husband so you alternate your workout times, or find a neighbourhood girlfriend you can switch off childcare with in order to give each other a couple of hours to exercise.
4. Do what you love
Make sure your workouts are full of activities you enjoy. Nothing forecasts a failed exercise regime better than if we are in constant dread of actually doing it. If you’re not a fan of traditional gym workouts and exercise classes or don’t partake in the popular fitness trends, there are countless forms of non-traditional exercise to discover. Whether it’s trapeze classes or trampolining, skateboarding or disco dancing, take the time to find workouts that work for you.
5. Short bursts are better than nothing
There will be weeks when our schedules are up-ended and we are forced to (gasp!) cancel our workout timeslots. Instead of giving up on your workouts for the week, be prepared by having some short yoga sequences or strength training moves you can turn to when you have a few minutes available. Doing 10-minute bursts of exercise three times a day is far better than doing nothing at all.
6. Involve the family
Having your family participate in your fitness routine is a great source of encouragement. Your husband and kids could set up cheering or water stations for your weekend training runs or you could plan a weekly family tennis game. Aside from family time together, you’re also setting a positive example to your kids by showing them that exercise is an important part of your life.
7. Keep an emergency fitness bag
Whether running, swimming, yoga or biking is your thing, always have a bag with an extra set of fitness gear in your car or at work. Then, if you find yourself with unexpected free time to work out you’ve got no excuse, since your gear is with you.