It can be very daunting for a working mother with small children to work exercise into her schedule. The standard tips just do not always work. For example, one might tell a working mother to wake up before the rest of the household and go for a walk or do a workout DVD before the children wake up. This works if you have children that sleep after you wake up. Many children wake up when the mother wakes up, regardless the time. There is snuggling to be done, breakfast to be made, and cartoons to be watched. Leaving or doing a DVD at this point is not reasonable.
One might also tell a working mother to run to the gym after work, and many gyms offer childcare. Many working mothers, however, suffer from guilt over leaving their children in childcare at a gym after they have been at daycare all day. They could go at lunch, but often times this is the only meal that a working mother with small children gets to eat uninterrupted.
What is a working mother with small children to do about getting exercise? Well, for this season of life, there are some options. Remember that all physical activity burns calories, so try to be more intentional about being physical throughout the day.
- Park as far away as reasonable and possible. Choose the space at work that makes you have to walk the longest distance without making you late. This tip also works for the market, Church, or where ever you may be going. If you have to carry a toddler, you are burning even more calories!
- Take the stairs! Skip the elevator. If it is too far, consider taking the stairs to another floor and getting on the elevator there.
- Work one handed whenever you can. Carry a small child in the other and you will burn extra calories and bond with your child. This is not meant for larger children, of course. Be safe and know you limits when it comes to lifting, just like if you were lifting weights.
- Get active during quality time with the kids. Instead of watching TV, try to wrestle, play chase, or some other equally physical activity.
- Remember that vacuuming, dusting, and other household duties burn calories!
- Make multiple trips. Sure, it is more efficient to print everything at once and go get it all at once, but if you have the time, and you share a printer that is away from your desk, print things in batches and make more trips. This works for putting away laundry and groceries as well! Every little bit counts.
- Wear a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you take per day. Studies have shown that the average person takes from 1,000 to 3,000 steps everyday. These same studies have revealed that taking up to 10,000 steps or more per day can have added health benefits.
It is an outstanding goal to have a standard time of exercise. However, during the time in a woman’s life when she is working and raising small children, it is not always reasonable. This often causes women to become frustrated and not even try. The above tips are an excellent way to keep up physical health during this busy season of life.