Whether you were a religious gym attendee or you simply took the occasional jog prior to your baby’s arrival, you’ll have probably realized that workouts become much more difficult to fit in once there are kids in the picture.
Lots of moms are in the same boat. Thanks to the extra time and money required to raise kids, many of you begin to realize that finding the opportunities to work out isn’t just unlikely, it actually seems selfish. We definitely understand how difficult it can be to balance your children’s needs against your own personal health and fitness requirements, but we have a few great suggestions which can help make it easier.
Here are our best workout recommendations for stay-at-home moms.
It’s okay to start slowly, especially if your body is still recovering from childbirth. Walking provides several benefits for stay-at-home moms. For one thing, it gets you outside. Some moms can get so caught up in the responsibilities of feeding the kids, cleaning the house, and managing bills, that by the time they look up it’s already dark outside. If it has been several days since you’ve taken a walk, it’s time to get back out there.
Walking is low-impact, and will not put unnecessary strain on your joints or muscles. Plus, this is an activity perfectly suited for strollers, or even for young children to tag along. Best of all? There are no equipment costs or travel time involved. Simply open your door, and go.
Squats are great because they work some of the biggest muscle groups in your body – namely, your quads and glutes. This can help burn off excess calories, release endorphins, and help you feel stronger and more stable on your feet.
To perform this exercise properly, stand with your feet hip distance apart and your toes facing forward. Bend at the knees, pushing back with your glutes, and leaning forward at the shoulders to help balance yourself. The best way to think of this is to imagine that you are sitting down in an invisible chair.
Bend until your knees are at 90° angles, then slowly straighten up again and repeat the motion.
Push-ups are one of the best exercises you can do at home because they work so many muscle groups at the same time – many of which moms put to use every day. Your pectorals, biceps, triceps, deltoids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi all get a workout.
To complete this exercise, push yourself into a plank position with your hands shoulder distance apart, and your feet just a few inches apart. If this is too much strain, bring your knees down to the floor to take some of the pressure off. Bending at the elbows, lower your chest all the way until it touches the ground, and then straighten your elbows to bring yourself back up.
If your arms need some extra attention, triceps dips are a quick and easy exercise. Place two chairs facing one another approximately half a meter apart. With your feet on one chair, sit on the opposite chair and place your hands alongside your torso with your elbows pointing back. Lift yourself up off the chair, scoot forward, and by bending your elbows, allow yourself to “dip” down between the chairs. Straighten your elbows to push yourself back up.
If this workout is too intense, you can adjust it by putting your feet on the floor to give yourself some extra leverage.
Planks are wonderful for your core, arms, and upper back (all the muscles you need to hold a toddler). To complete this exercise, hold yourself in a high push-up position with a flat back. Place your hands shoulder distance apart, and your feet a few inches apart. Have a timer nearby, and see if you can hold this plank position for 30 seconds.
As you gain strength, you will be able to increase your plank times incrementally, until they’re being measured in minutes rather than seconds.
Nap Time Yoga
All of the bending, crouching, lifting, cradling, and carrying you do over the course of a day can leave you feeling pretty stiff and sore. Taking a few minutes for yourself to do some gentle stretching and breathing not only helps to work out the soreness in your muscles, it also gives you a very important opportunity to center yourself. You can take deep breaths, let your mind quiet down, and spend a few minutes relaxing after a very hectic day.
If you can still take naps, this might be the perfect time to try some simple yoga poses. Otherwise, remember that yoga is so relaxing that you can do it before bed without worrying that it will keep you up all night.
Moms may not always have time to get to the gym, or have the money for lots of fancy equipment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a few minutes to take care of themselves each day. Self-care isn’t selfish; in fact it helps you be a more alert, present, and relaxed parent.