Something I am asked all the time – how do mums find time to exercise?
I have a really strong memory of going to a wellbeing event when my kids were about 5 and 2. The leader was talking about the importance of self-care/creating time for you etc and she told me that she got up every day before her kids to make sure she had time to exercise. My youngest was still breastfeeding through the night and I was averaging about 3 wake ups between going to bed at 10ish and being up for the school run around 7am. When I asked how old her kids were and she told me 15 and 17. I nearly spat my drink out in her face in amazement that she was genuinely giving me advice about getting up before the kids when mine were so little!
Listen, I get it. I spent the first 7 or 8 years of motherhood neglecting my own needs. My kids have only really started sleeping in the last year or so (they are 7 and 10) and it was all I could do to get through the day without worrying about exercise too. But I missed it. I’ve always been an active person, I KNOW all the benefits, I see all the benefits in my clients! But I really struggled to apply the same things for myself.
However, I look back and I think I could have approached things differently. Here is some of the advice I give to people who feel like they don’t have the time or energy for exercise as I wish I had been able to apply this to myself in those early years:
Don’t wait for ‘the right time’. It will never come! You don’t need 30 minutes of alone time, a lit candle, to put on gym clothese and get out a yoga mat that would look great on Instagram. 3 minutes of movement (eg 10 x bridges and 10 x cats) while the kids are climbing on you is enough! Just show up!
and you can always get back on. If you miss a day, a week or a month it doesn’t matter. Don’t give yourself a hard time about it, just pick a habit you already have and add a tiny one to it. And start today.
– you DO NOT NEED 30 minutes of exercise per day to change your pelvic floor health. You will even get results if you forget to do anything at all some days (although hopefully that won’t happen now with your tiny habits). There is no need to change your whole lifestyle, just pick one small change and start today. Meet yourself where you are. If you are currently doing no exercise then doing 2 squats every time you go to the toilet will really start to add up.
– whether it’s your partner, your kids, your best friend or your mum, tell someone about the fact you want to commit to this. Tell them what your plan is and what steps you are going to take to create change.
– park your car further away from work, leave extra time so you can walk the school run instead of driving, go for an evening stroll once the kids are in bed. Whatever it is that you can do to fit in more movement, do it!
This Feel Better Live More podcast is all about making habits stick and is full of super helpful tips to help you work out how do mum find times to exercise.
I know you feel like you don’t have time but most of us can find a few minutes throughout our day where we are doing things that we would rather replace with more positive behaviours eg scrolling on instagram or watching tv.
We can set ourselves up for reducing these to create more time for the habits we WANT with simple changes in our lives. I have recently made a rule for myself that my phone isn’t allowed upstairs and my phone use has gone down by over an hour a day as a result! Or you could say that before you sit down to watch tv in the evening/before you get into bed you will always do 2 squats to add to the 2 squats you do after you brush your teeth (as an example).
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