We all know how the benefits of a good workout, yet it can be so hard to get motivated, especially when our lives are so full managing our kids’ needs. Even if you are time poor, here are some simple, easy, and achievable ideas to help you get underway with a mood boost that your mind and body will thank you for.
Schedule your workouts
Make appointments with yourself and book them in regularly. Have you heard that it takes 21 days to build a habit? Once you can make working out a routine – like brushing your teeth – then it is much easier, it becomes automatic and something you just do and don’t have to think about doing. Remember some days will be more manageable than others. But if you just commit to taking the time to work out, then in terms of getting results, consistency beats motivation every time.
Your willpower is strongest at the start of the day. If you can manage to do a quick exercise first thing before the family needs you, then it’s already over and done with, and you don’t have to spend the rest of the day thinking about working out, or coming up with reasons why you shouldn’t. An added bonus of early morning exercise is that you will feel awake and ready to tackle the day with a hit of endorphins.
Begin with an achievable exercise, maybe something like a walk or a light weights workout. You can increase the difficulty as you go along, but in the early days, just get started. All it takes is opening the front door and stepping out on a walk around the block. If getting out isn’t possible, you don’t even have to leave the house to do a workout, with so many instructional and educational videos available online.
While 30 minutes a day is the recommended amount of exercise, just to start with, commit to doing ten minutes a day or even seven minutes – there are heaps of apps for these type of workouts! You may find that once you’re in the mood, you can keep going and do 20 minutes or half an hour. Any minutes done is better than an hour you thought about doing it and didn’t. Reassure yourself that you can take as long as you need to build up to that 30 minute milestone.
Make it meaningful
There are many reasons that you may have for wanting to work out; improving fitness isn’t always the main motivator. Working out helps us feel better in a lot of ways. It may help you reduce stress, boost your energy levels or even just enjoy some much-needed me-time. Visualising how you will feel afterwards will also help.
Do something you enjoy
If you know you’re not a fan of running, then try walking or cycling or something else. There’s no point pushing yourself to do something you are not interested in as you are less likely to stick to it. You could do sports, martial arts, classes, cycling, mountain biking, dancing or swimming. Online classes and apps are available too if it is not so easy to leave the house. There’s heaps of yoga, pump, boxercise and other options around right now.
Make sure you’ve got some comfortable exercise gear – Big W and Kmart do cheap outfits and fitness equipment if you fancy.If you’ve don’t have weights, you can use backpacks, tins, bottles or whatever you have lying around the house. Grab your iPod with some favourite tunes- music is a proven performance enhancer, so make a playlist of all your pump-up tunes and get out there.
Mix it up!
Unless you find it helpful to focus on just one type of exercise, you don’t have to just do the same thing over and over. Variety is the spice of life, and so a list of different activities can really add interest to your week. Make a go-to list of things that you know you already like and that you’re keen to try and maybe that your friends have been asking you to come along to. Then grab your go-to list and pick one out.
Get a workout buddy or ten
This could be a family member or members or a friend or two. Even better, find another special needs mama who needs the time out as much as you do! If you make a pact with each other, you’re more likely to stick to the commitment! Organised sport or workouts can take this a step further, if this is a possibility for you. It can be a great way to make new friends and you can all keep each other motivated while having fun.
It’s important to reward yourself when you’re done working out. This could be placing a daily star on a sticker chart, a fruit smoothie or catching an episode of Bridgerton. Whatever works for you – you’ve earned it! Enjoy!