Today’s mum is a superhero! Being a mum, juggling chores, taking care of your other half, errands, admin and work can play havoc on any exercise programme and make finding time to get fit very tricky. So it gets left right at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.
Yet it can be done! Vicky Warr gives her top tips to help you save time and into shape easily. Without a gym or a diet, stacks of time and without even realizing it.
The school or nursery run…as your morning workout.
Walking briskly to and from nursery or school instead of driving means you get a workout, fresh air and what some call ‘moving meditation’. The breathing and repetitive movement involved with walking or jogging promotes feelings of calm and tranquility and reduces stress. Being outdoors releases endorphins, natural hormones which promote a sense of feeling good. Plus by increasing your pace, you’ll burn more calories in less time.
Short bursts of strength exercise
You can do this in just 15 minutes a day, three times a week, using just your bodyweight in the comfort of your own home. Recent studies have shown that strength training boosts your metabolism by 10% and increases post exercise fat burning by 100%.
Push-ups, squats, lunges, step-ups (using your stairs), are all ‘multi-muscle’ exercises meaning you use more than one muscle group with one exercise. Using more muscles means toning up more muscles!
Whilst walking or jogging will burn calories and get you fit – exercises using your whole body and lots of different muscles gets you amazing results.
Look for little windows of opportunity.
When the baby naps, use that ten, twenty or thirty minute chance to do some quick exercises at home.
Little and often is actually better than inconsistent exercise of one hour or longer. This keeps your metabolism burning. Latest research shows quick interval training is far superior to slow, traditional cardio-vascular exercise. It results in burning more stomach fat and as your workouts are shorter, it’s over quicker!
If you and your partner exercise, it sends out a great signal and example to your children. Here’s how both you and your other half can fit it in…
- Try getting up early (before the baby wakes) for a run or swim or to do your exercise
- Be active with your baby or child, running with a baby jogger is a great way of getting back into running. Make sure your only start running with them when they have neck control, usually after 6 months. They’re a bit more resilient by this age and may be eating solid foods.
- Exercise with the baby – try baby presses, baby lunges and baby squats.
Organise ‘Fitness Friday’
Grab a willing friend who also has a little one. Friday could be your day when a friend comes over with their children or baby and you take it in turns to look after the children while the other one does some exercises for thirty minutes, then you swap.
Seek out a Mother and Baby fitness class
If you’ve just had a baby, you often want to get back into shape and get out of the door to meet other mums! There are some mums post natal fitness classes where you can take the baby, check out what’s going on in your local area. These classes are social, fun and motivating – they help lift the ‘baby blues’ and post natal depression and get you fit.
Chores to music
When you have to do the washing, cleaning and tidying up, put the music on, set the timer for fifteen minutes and get the whole family involved. Make it an activity – go up and down the stairs, dance around as you put toys away and as you have the timer on you’ll have to move quickly to get it done!
Do something you love..
Ask someone to look after your child and take some time out to do an activity you love. This is essential for any mum – dance, play a sport (netball is becoming increasingly popular activity), go hiking or take a swim. That way you won’t see exercise as a chore or punishing!
And finally here is one very good reason why you should try to make exercise non-negiotable!
Vicky Warr is founder of the Beez Kneez (www.beez-kneez.co.uk) specialising in pregnancy and post natal, mum and baby group fitness classes. Founder of Member of Wetrainmoms.com and Senior level YMCA-accredited personal fitness trainer.
Vicky consults for BBC Radio, Mothercare and Teapigs. She writes for many national publications including the Gurgle Magazine, Daily Mail, Pregnancy and birth and bounty.com. She is also a mum to Luca and Poppy.
For details of prenatal and postnatal group fitness classes, visit: www.beez-kneez.co.uk