"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." - Joseph Addison
Life is demanding. Work, school, family, friends, and other obligations usually take first place in our lives, leaving our workout strategies to fall by the wayside. Trust me, as a work-at-home-mom with a two-year-old, things get crazy around here real quick!
However, by incorporating some of the tips below, you can rise to the occasion and find time to exercise at home and on the go. Keep in mind that almost all of these tips are things that I have done in the process of working on, and actually achieving, personal fitness goals. In other words, you got this!
1. Wake Up Early
It might seem obvious, but this is the best way for me to start my day. Waking up before the kids (or your spouse, partner, etc.) gives you time to exercise at home without any distractions or interruptions, aside from making your morning cup of coffee, tea, lemon water, etc.
Having this time to myself, even if it’s only 30 minutes, allows me to set the tone with physical movement and positive affirmations. The quiet and solitude are perfect for meditating, getting into a yoga flow, or fitting in a quick workout and cooldown.
Plus, the equipment required is actually quite minimal. A yoga mat, resistance bands, wrist or ankle weights, and other small, portable tools can all be used to maximize your at-home workout. Combine this with an effective DVD, lesson on a phone app, or preferred routine, and you can hit the gym far less often.
2. Wait for Naptime
If you still have a toddler at home like I do, then you’ll understand why nap hour is my daily saving grace. Sometimes you can’t always wake up early, so that’s where sneaking in a workout comes in.
Follow the same tips as above. plus consider prepping your family’s lunch/snack/dinner in the morning to free up more time in the afternoon to exercise at home.
Maybe you don’t work from home, but still need to find time to fit in a workout. Try exercising at the office on your lunch break. Stretch, do standing knee raises, go for a walk around the building, climb the stairs a few times.
Before you leave for work in the morning, pack your sneakers and socks so you can swap them out before your mid-day activity. For even greater accountability, find a coworker who is also into fitness to commit to daily lunch break exercise sessions.
3. With Your Kids
Life is not perfect, and it rarely goes as planned, so why not incorporate your little ones into your fitness routine? Babies are perfect little wiggly weights that you can snuggle and cradle while you do lunges, squats, and even glute bridges.
My toddler loves to hang on me while I exercise. Rather than fight it, I do things like chest presses while using her as my “weight.” She thinks she's flying, and I'm toning my chest, arms, and triceps.
When in the fire hydrant stance, my daughter likes to climb on top and pretend I'm a horse (insert cry-laughing emoji here). Another variation of having a toddler on your back could be a plank or push up. Essentially, it's all about getting creative and getting rid of excuses!
4. Use a Workout Program
An efficient fat blasting or muscle building workout program can be the perfect way to find time to exercise at home and on the go. Choose a DVD for home use, and have a backup program in the form of an app on your phone for use during vacation and travel.
Beachbody is a popular brand that offers a variety of cardio and muscle building DVDs. The Freeletics app is said to be great for exercising away from home, as it doesn't require any equipment. The PEAR app has an extensive library of different workouts--cardio, strength training, yoga, foam rolling, etc.--but may suggest some equipment, making it ideal for exercise at home.
5. Try Multitasking
Sometimes, when I don't feel like I can fit in a workout, I do a little bit of exercise in tandem with other tasks. For example, if I'm writing an article from my phone (which I'm doing right now, ha!), I can just pop right down into a few squats or lunges. If I'm standing at the sink doing dishes, sometimes I do some standing leg kickbacks, with or without my resistance bands.
Watching TV? Do some stretches from the comfort of your couch, or contract and relax your abs or pelvic floor. Every little bit counts!
6. Double-Duty Destination
Parks and outdoor recreation areas are more conducive to on-the-go exercise than ever!
Take your kids to the park and, so long as your child is safe and still under your watchful eye, utilize the playground equipment or the grassy field to fit in a workout.
An obvious one is to go for a walk or run while your little one is in their stroller. Keep the stroller stationary at certain points along the walk and use it to get into some lunges, squats, or standing leg raises.
If you see a flight of stairs, use them to fit in a little cardio sweat session. At the beach? Sand is soft and can be a great place for doing crunches and generally any other workout that doesn't need equipment.
7. Portable Exercise Gear
For more intense on-the-go workouts, invest in a few portable tools to use during a quick workout. The right gear can make a session more efficient, thus requiring less time, and ultimately easier for you to fit one in!
Exercise bands, yoga blocks, wrist and ankle weights, a medicine ball, kettlebell, foldable yoga mat, and jump rope are all perfect for maximizing your workout with minimal space and time. Use them for crunches, cardio, arm toning, leg toning, and so much more.