It’s taken me a LONG time to get into my current exercise routine.
Bart and I went to the gym a lot when we didn’t have kids, but once Ella was born, it got harder for me to fit in exercise and I felt like I didn’t really get into a good routine until about five years ago, when our youngest was 18 months old and I wasn’t nursing or pregnant or waking up all night long anymore.
Now, I work out usually 6 days a week (Sunday is my rest day – for me, it’s easier to work out 6 days a week than to be constantly trying to decide which days should be the 3-4 days a week I should work out) and it’s something I hardly think about because it’s such a part of my routine.
Here are some of the things that make that possible for me – if you’re trying to get into an exercise routine, I hope they’ll help you too!
7 Things That Make Exercise Work for Me
- Find something that works for YOU. This is the biggest thing for me. My sister loved the Sweat app but every time I used it, I wanted to die of boredom. Other people love High Fitness but I’m such a lousy dancer and have such poor rhythm that it was embarrassing and frustrating for me instead of fun. If it’s something you hate doing, it’s going to be hard to make time for it or prioritize it. The things that have worked best for me are outdoor running, a weight-lifting class at my local gym, pickleball, and the HIIT classes on Get Healthy U TV at home (it’s $3 for a whole year’s subscription!). It might take some time to figure out what works – try different things and see what makes exercise feel at least a little more enjoyable for you.
- Be prepared for routines and seasons to change. I cannot emphasize this enough – life is always changing! If you have toddlers at home, your options might be different than what they’ll be when your kids are old enough to stay home alone while you go to a morning gym class. Summer may look different than the school year. A pandemic may shut down your gym and you have to find a new routine. You might be able to exercise in ways during warm weather than cold weather makes impossible (or vice versa). Knowing that things will always be shifting and being ready to readjust as needed has been key for me to keep exercise a part of my life.
- Pair it with something enjoyable. I started running in earnest this year (for me, earnest is 3 miles, a few times a week) and although it’s been thrilling to finally conquer running, it’s still hard for me. But getting to listen to an audiobooks while I run definitely makes it more enjoyable – I usually save my most fun romance listens or gripping reads for my running time and it makes it WAY more fun. I also started going to the weight-lifting class originally because my friend invited me and having time to spend together visiting while we lifted made it significantly more fun. When I started running, going with Bart made it way easier to go because we could talk the whole time (or I’d make him talk most of the time while I tried not to die) and that time together was a special way to start the day.
- Set things out the night before. This is so simple, but choosing my workout clothing (down to socks and shoes) and having them sitting on top of my dresser ready to go both puts me in a “I’m going to work out tomorrow” mindset and makes my mornings run smoother (it also means I can sleep in an extra minute or two when I’m going to the gym because I don’t have to make any decisions when my alarm goes off). I also fill up my water bottle for the gym and put it by my clothes and make sure my keys/phone/gym card are ready to grab and go so I’m not scrambling to get out the door on time.
- Have options. Most of us probably have our ideal workout or the thing we love most, but it’s nice to have backup plans when that’s not an option. For me, Get Healthy U TV has been a great backstop on mornings when I just can’t get up for an early gym class or the weather is too horrible for a run outside or I don’t have time to do a 45 minutes run. Listing out your options can help you feel more prepared to manage disruptions to your routine.
- Don’t set your standards too high. It’s so easy to feel like “if it’s not an hour long workout, it’s not worth it.” But it is! Your body wants to move and even two minutes of planks or a 10 minute video is 100% worth doing. Don’t let your brain trick you into thinking that nothing is better than doing something that’s less than the ideal.
- Have the gear you need. I am NOT someone who thinks you need to buy all the things to start exercising, but a few smart items do go a long way to have the simple things that make exercising easier and more enjoyable. Wireless earbuds make running way more enjoyable for me, as do running leggings or shorts with a tight side pocket for my phone so that it’s not bumping around as I move. When I play pickleball, having a paddle that’s decent makes a big difference over a $5 wooden one.
Any other suggestions for making exercise part of your life when life is busy? I’d love to hear!
if you liked this post about workouts for busy moms, you might like these other posts:
- 5 Tips for Fitting Exercise In When You Have Little Kids
- How I Started Running This Year
- Our Home Gym Tour
Photos by Heather Mildenstein