Finding time to exercise as a busy single mum may be a long way down your priority list. Something for people with the luxury we crave … time. We all know its importance, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
It’s time to change the way you think about exercise. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, tedious or even particularly hard.
The key to exercise as a busy single mum is choosing the right kind of practice. Something that fits into your schedule, gets results and you enjoy. Once you have the formula, you’ll be off and running, quite literally.
Are you ready to reform the way you look and feel? Let’s get warmed up with these simple ideas.
Exercise in (or close to) your home
The longer it takes you to get to your place of exercise, the less likely you’ll do it. Face it, time is already limited. Why waste it getting from A to B, and back again? Only use a fitness facility if it’s less than ten minutes from your home.
Instead, find an area to exercise in your home and use a fitness app to keep you motivated and on track. And utilise local parks and footpaths for running. Just make sure they’re safe.
Further reading: 12 Online fitness programs you can do in your undies.
Less can be more
If you think you need a good hour to exercise, think again. According to Fitness Blender:
‘Not only can multiple short workouts be as effective as longer duration workouts, they can be even more effective’.
With this in mind, consider two 15-minute workouts a day. Does this seem more manageable? There’s a good choice of 15-minute workout DVDs available. Or stick in your headphones and get moving. Run on the spot, jump or dance.
Include your kids
This doesn’t necessarily mean donning your best gym gear and running enthusiastically with a stroller.
Remember that any exertion is exercise. Time spent chasing one another around the garden, walking to the park or playing Wii Dance is all cardiovascular activity that counts. Just because you’re having fun and not considering it exercise doesn’t mean it’s not a workout.
If you can pull it off, it’s a win/win for you and your kids.
Make it a routine
The best way to ensure something happens is to plan for it.
Set a time each day for exercise. If you get into a routine, it will become second nature eventually. Your kids will get used to it too. For example, after dinner is mum’s aerobic time. They’ll start expecting you to do it, which will motivate you.
I do a 30-minute YouTube yoga workout before my kids wake up. They think nothing of seeing mummy as a tree first thing in the morning!
Finding time to exercise as a busy single mum (cont.)
Mix it up
Exercise for busy mums can be a challenge.
Don’t pressure yourself to stick to a rigid routine. It would be virtually impossible in the ever-changing mum world. Instead, have several options. If your exercise plans for the day fall through, do something else.
For example, if you don’t go to the gym, do a mini workout at home. Or, if you can’t face high-intensity exercise, do a relaxing yoga and meditation workout. Back-ups and alternatives take the stress off when things don’t go to plan.
Exercise with other busy mums
Doing exercise with a friend makes it more enjoyable. It’s also helpful from a time perspective.
If you’ve arranged a time to do joint exercise, it’s more like to happen and happen at the planned time. Committing to exercise with another person alleviates procrastination, which may hinder your day and your ability to stick with the program.
Exercise for busy mums is more enjoyable and more attainable when done in the company of others.
Do some mummy-style multi-tasking
If you struggle to dedicate time to exercise, try to combine it with other tasks.
Use exercise machines such as steppers and bikes. You can read and even sort paperwork while you’re on them. Take a brisk walk while you catch up on phone calls. And swap your car for your bike to run small errands.
You’ll be keeping fit and keeping up with your chores simultaneously. Multi-tasking is our forte after all.
Conclusion: Finding time to exercise as a busy single mum
Remember that keeping fit has to be fun. You’re less likely to make time for it if you're not enjoying it.
To get off the starting block, try different exercises at different times. When you find what works, stick at it. You’ll see and feel the results, which is your motivation to keep going.
Exercise for busy mums is possible. So get moving, keep smiling, and have fun.