Fitting fitness into family life is crucial if you want to be active but still complete all of your other responsibilities as a mother.
If you’ve ever tried to start a work-out three different times (or more!) only to be interrupted by a toddler who needs a snack, an infant who you could have sworn was sound asleep, or your grade schooler who must have help on his homework… know you’re not alone. There seems to be a limitless number of barriers to meeting the suggested exercise guidelines for general health benefits, especially when you’re a mom. The most common barrier I run into is “time.”
The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. This works out to ~30 minutes per day, five days per week (1,2). If finding 30 minutes per day to be alone and focus on your physical fitness seems impossible, don’t just abandon the idea and succumb to being a couch potato who watches hallmark movies, devours chocolate, and sips on wine every night (although, occasionally, this is very much needed, and recommended in navigating motherhood).
Admittedly, I have learned the hard way that there really is no true way to balance life and fitness when you are a mom. Long gone are the days when I had two hours to go for a long bike ride or a mountainous hike or run, let alone spend 30 minutes doing an exercise video without having to hit pause at least five times. You are being pulled in far too many directions and, ultimately, just getting to the gym typically gets put on the back burner. However, one crucial quality all moms are especially good at is our talent of multi-tasking.
What I have discovered is that we must use this to our advantage when we ponder the impossible of balancing mom life with our fitness goals. Fitting fitness into family life can be hard, but it’s not impossible.
Do you work forty plus hours per week and can’t bear the thought of leaving your child or children for another hour per day to work out at the gym without significantly spiking your mom guilt? Or do you stay at home with your kids and feel so exhausted by the day’s events, exerting any more energy to working out seems impossible?
Well training for mom life doesn’t have to look like an expensive personal trainer for an hour a day five days a week. Instead, it can be implementing simple changes in your daily life with a little more mindfulness for movement and giving yourself the self love and grace you need to move more and move better.
Did you know that simply learning how to breathe better to connect to your deep abdominal muscles will make your core stronger and could even lead to less urine leakage? (And yes, I said it—incontinence! It is something that is all too common among our mom-tribe members but most certainly is not normal and CAN be helped.)
Did you know that there are better (read: safer and more effective) ways to move when you unload the 4th load of laundry in one day or try to haul all of the groceries inside in one load, or pick up toys in the playroom for what feels like the umpteenth time, and these techniques won’t lead to back and hip pain and may even help prevent it?
Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends children age three to five years old engage in three hours of light to moderate physical activity per day and children six and up should be moderately to vigorously active 60+ minutes per day (3)? Therefore, there should be endless opportunities to be active with your kids, and we must take advantage of them. If not for our own health’s sake, but for our children too.
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, you are not alone, and you are in the right place to learn more.
There needs to be more education for women. Women’s health physical therapy is invaluable when it comes to this. I strongly encourage you to seek out a women’s health physical therapist who specializes in treatment of the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles if you are in this season of life. (And this season…is a LONG season. Once you are post-partum, you are ALWAYS post-partum).
If that’s not feasible for you right now, I hope that this blog can help inform you on a variety of self-care strategies, practical exercise ideas, and different ways to try fitting fitness into family life, as it will likely make you a better mom. I’m here to help you train for mom life.
Because when you move better, you feel better, and you will most definitely will mom better.