When I struggled with PPD and PPA, one of the surefire things I knew I had to do was make time to exercise, but that’s not easy when you have kids. Even though I’ll never claim to LOVE exercising, it makes me feel better about my body, and I need anything that makes me feel good about myself.
I’ll never be one of those fitness gurus…
Although, their outfits are CUTE.
Regular exercise and eating good food helps with your overall happiness, especially when you’re battling depression or body image problems. Even though I don’t always feel like working out, when I leave the gym, I feel so much better about myself.
Here are some of the ways I make time to exercise with several kids.
10 Ways to Make Time to Exercise with Kids
1. Be Realistic with Your Plans
If you’re like me, I get a little too crazy about new plans. I set unrealistic plans and goals that I cannot accomplish otherwise.
If you want a lifestyle change that involves regular exercise, you have to be realistic. Consider how much free time you have each week, and how many days you could go to the gym. Make sure your budget is able to fit a gym membership, or think about budget-friendly workouts at home.
I believe in pushing ourselves, but if you don’t set realistic expectations, you’ll end up feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself.
2. Wait Until Your Older Kids Go to School
When my older two kids go to school and preschool, that’s when I typically go to the gym. During the summer, it’s a bit more complicated, but since they go to school nine months out of the year, I figure it out.
Typically, I drop my son and daughter off at school, leaving me with my youngest son still. Then, I head to the gym, which brings me to my next trick to make time to exercise.
3. Take Advantage of Childcare at the Gym
Invest in a gym that offers childcare!
I tried other gyms, but since my husband works, the most practical way for me to make time to exercise is to use a gym that offers childcare.
Before I committed to the monthly fee, I read all the requirements and toured the facility. My son looks forward to this time too; he loves playing with the other kids. It’s a win-win, but make sure you talk to other moms in the area to get their thoughts.
You want to be sure the childcare is appropriate and safe for your children. Moms always give each other the best reviews.
4. Exercise During Naptime
I have an exercise bike at home that I use when my kids take a nap. It’s the perfect time to put on a show for my older kids and exercise for 20 or 30 minutes.
Any exercise is better than nothing!
5. Walk As Much As Possible
Walks aren’t always possible – Mother Nature doesn’t always agree with us – but they’re an awesome way to exercise with kids. If you can’t make time to exercise without your kids, bring them along.
Daily walks are a great way to burn calories and get your kids outside. Use this time to point out nature or stop to observe flowers and birds. Your kids will love this time, and you’ll feel good about getting out and walking.
6. Try HIIT Workouts
I used to avoid HIIT workouts – anything that says high intensity makes me waiver a bit. However, high-intensity interval training – HIIT – is a great way to work at home.
The idea is that you mix periods of working out and rest. So, you might do jacking jacks for 20 seconds and walk in place for 20 seconds. You’ll do things like squat, lunges, push-ups, and other exercises.
YouTube has tons of these workouts for FREE, so even if your budget isn’t flexible, you can still workout at home.
7. It’s Okay to Change Priorities
My mom always told me that you can be good at a lot of things but only great at a select few.
Some days, I make sure exercise is the priority, and I fit into the “great” category there, but other days, I let other things prioritize. Life is a balancing act, and you learn where to put the priorities for each day. They can’t be in the same place every day.
If exercising is a huge priority for you, make sure you know how many days per week you want to work out and make it a priority each of those days.
Unless you have a fully equipped gym at home that lets you exercise whenever with your kids, I suggest exercising four days a week (five at most), ensuring you have a few other days to catch up with other activities.
8. Exercise as a Family
So many things that you might do with your family counts as exercise besides walking. Start taking evening bicycle rides or go kayaking on the weekends. If you have older kids, play basketball or swim together.
Dance! Do your kids love to dance? Mine do, and while they think it’s silly and fun, dancing is a serious workout. Turn on a dance workout and do it with your kids. Your heart races, you burn calories, and your kids think you had a dance party.
9. Put It on Your Schedule
I love a good schedule; I have a daily stay-at-home mom schedule where I pencil in all of the things that I need to get done each day.
One of the ways you can make time to exercise is to make sure it’s on your schedule. Label each day when you plan to go to the gym or if you want to exercise at home.
I know if I write something in my planner I’m much more likely to get it done. Who doesn’t love crossing off things on their list?
10. Consider A Personal Trainer
A personal trainer helps you stay focused on your goals, and it’s someone who holds you accountable if you skip out on too many gym days.
I know that a personal trainer isn’t always possible, but finding someone to buddy up with you in the gym helps. Accountability matters, whether that’s a personal trainer or a gym friend who asks where you’ve been if you skip too many days.
Start Working Out!
Don’t let having kids stop you from hitting the gym and feeling better about yourself. I found several ways to make time to exercise, and you can too. Trust me; you’ll feel so much better about yourself if you get moving!