Busy busy busy – my top tips for fitting in regular exercise…

We are all so busy, busy, busy:

  • Being perfect mothers (fyi they don’t exist)
  • Managing to begin/maintain a long lasting happy relationship with our partners (or at very least avoiding divorce..)
  • Being dutiful daughters, thoughtful sisters, aunts etc
  • Being fabulous friends
  • Being efficient employees/business owners/entrepreneurs/full time parent
  • Maintaining our homes
  • Maintaining ourselves – (washing hair once in a while, make up, clothes, shoes, that kind of thing)

I’m exhausted just typing that list – so it’s no wonder we often say we have no time in our busy lives to fit in exercise. Yet when we neglect to exercise we are neglecting our HEALTH. Not just our physical health either, our mental health is also directly linked with regular physical exercise. So if something can help improve our physical health by making us stronger, fitter and leaner and also at the same time lift our mood and improve our entire well being then surely we need to be finding times in our busy lives to fit this in??

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Here are some tips:

  • Do something you enjoy – but if you are not doing any type of physical exercise at the moment be aware that whatever you start is going to be challenging (as with anything new!) and to persevere….. Try out a few classes, ask friends what they currently do… which brings me onto…
  • Make it social – if it’s with friends then you are more likely to motivate each other. Also exercise is a great way to meet fab new friends so start going to classes and you will have a whole new set of buddies. It doesn’t have to be running or the gym, or exercise classes. What about re-discovering a sport you used to love, netball, hockey, IMG_0695badminton, or trying one for the first time – many clubs are happy to accept and encourage new members who have not played before…
  • Exercise doesn’t have to take long to be effective! Don’t think that to see results you have to slog it out for an hour on the treadmill. HIIT, Tabata training focuses on short, intense interval type training is great for those with little time (more on HIIT and Tabata in another post)
  • Make sure you are as active in your daily life as you can be.  Walk AS MUCH as possible, take the stairs not the lift, try not to sit on your bottom for long periods of time (def not if mum to toddler/young child!) – if at work get up and walk around in between emails/phone calls. Now this all helps, but please don’t mistake being active in your day as your “exercise” and therefore you are exempt from doing any “formalised” type of physical activity.  Yes you may have walked the kids up to the park and then sat on a bench or chased your toddler around but this is on top of and  not instead of your regular exercise plan (even though you may feel exhausted afterwards)

Next, and this is very important…..

  • Plan your weekly exercise into your diary as an essential, non negotiable appointment. Think of it in terms of as important as meal times for your kids (you definitely wouldn’t miss that!) or washing  your hair (hopefully you wouldn’t miss that?!) or a meeting at work? A doctors appointment?  Or er – you get the picture. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, you are not cancelling your exercise time… because it’s for your mental and physical well being… remember? Which leads me on to:
  • You have to WANT to do this – some of the busiest people I know find time for regular exercise, some of my clients’ dedication to their health and well being amazes me. With everything else going on in their lives, they pretty much always make a session. So commit to your exercise and soon it will become an inherent part of your life.
  • However, don’t set unrealistic goals for exercising… by saying you are going to hit the gym 5 days a week, every week you are setting yourself up for failure if you know this is going to be really hard with your schedule. Instead plan in sensible times for at least 3 sessions per week. You don’t have to leave the house – you could do a 30 minute workout DVD or YOU TUBE workout (there are loads out there!) as soon as kids are in bed before dinner…

So – here are my tips on trying to make that Zumba class, or heading out for a run when you feel shattered and totally de-motivated:

  • No one ever REGRETS doing a workout – you may feel shattered and feel like you have no energy – if you MAKE yourself do something you will feel fabulous and energised afterwards (seriously – I can’t believe anyone would disagree with that unless they were genuinely ill?) So keep that in your head at all times… “I WILL feel amazing afterwards..”
  • Be prepared. If you are at work and planning a trip to the gym after work, change into your gym clothes before you leave so you are all set to go. If possible go STRAIGHT to the gym/run/class before going home first. Ok, for mums – you are about to do the teatime/bathtime/bedtime routine (aka witching hour or two) and have planned your exercise for when the little darlings are in bed. Before (or during to buy yourself some time) the mayhem starts, go and change into your gym gear – sports bra and all. You may get yoghurt splattered on it but who cares) Then, mentally, you are prepared and ready to go. You actively have to take off your gym stuff and put your comfy PJS on instead – good sports bras are not nice for lounging around watching telly in… I have tried and failed.
  • Mums with babies –  once the chaos of the first few terrifying and exciting weeks are over and you are post 6 weeks (10 weeks if c section)  and have had your doctors check you can start exercising again. Walking is great and some gentle core work. Buggyfit type classes work well as you are outside in fresh air with your baby. Other postnatal classes where you can bring your baby with you and you can exercise under supervision of a pre and postnatal exercise specialist are also good ideas.

Committing to a relationship with regular exercise is one that you are not going to regret 🙂  You will be a happier and healthier you, I promise!



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