Life as a mom is busy! Our schedules are not our own, and the juggle of childcare, working, cooking, etc, often leaves exercise as one of the last to-do’s. As an active mom and physical therapist, I think about this a lot! For me, it’s definitely an evolving process. Transitions throughout my kids’ childhood and my career have forced me to rethink and come up with new strategies as the transitions occur. For the moms I work with, I aim to be creative as I help them become successful with not only exercise for fitness and mental benefits, but also the exercises they do to achieve their therapy goals.
1. Do small amounts of exercise throughout the day. Where do you have chunks of 60 seconds throughout the day? Waiting for the coffee to heat up in the microwave, because someone distracted you again and now it’s cold? Or waiting for your slowest eater to finish breakfast? Waiting for that same kid to put on his shoes and get out the door? As moms we have lots of time during the day waiting on someone else. Put that time to use - air squats, lunges, stretching, resetting a good posture, pelvic floor contractions (what does your body need the most?) - so many possibilities depending on your goals. Not only is this efficient, but from a PT perspective, the more you do intentional movements or strengthening throughout the day, the more your brain gets used to the idea that that’s how you’re supposed to move. In other words, the more you practice using certain muscles, the more your brain automatically uses them when you are stressed or not thinking about it. Better carryover into feeling strong in your daily life as a mom.
2. Decide where you are most successful. Are you better going to a class where it’s social and you have accountability? Or getting it done early morning while everyone in the house is still sleeping? A lot of the moms I work with do awesome with their standing exercises, but struggle to take the step of getting onto the floor for the others. So we figure out how to those in standing! Set yourself up for success.
3. Exercise with your kiddo. If no one can watch her while you’re out for a jog, bring her on the jog! Bonus of using a jogging stroller is it makes you lean forward which means you use your glutes more and pelvic floor more efficiently! Set up an exercise circuit in the basement and invite your kids to create a station. Do yoga together - either at home with a free video or at a studio. Not only will you have more opportunities to exercise, you will also be teaching them to love exercise.
4. Figure out what form of exercise you enjoy. You will be more successful if you like it. Just because something is the newest craze doesn’t mean it fits with you. I always thought I "should" swim more, but turns out I just don't like it! Think back to the times you were most successful with an exercise routine and figure out how to do that. Or, if you’ve never had success with exercising, try a bunch of new things. Most exercise studios will let you try a class for free because not everything works for everybody. Is your personality better suited to yoga? Running? Gym weights? Outdoor? Indoor? Figure out what you will enjoy the most, and you will be much more motivated to find a place in your life for it.
Do you have other obstacles that you can’t seem to get past as you try to exercise more? Send me an email and we can trouble-shoot it together!
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Jill Heath is a licensed physical therapist and owner of She PT, LLC. She received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and B.S. in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University. During years of practice helping individuals of all ages recover from a variety of conditions, she developed a passion for working with women. She opened She PT, LLC with the purpose of meeting not only the unique physical needs of women, but also empowering women to take charge of their well-being by making care accessible.