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8 Tips To Help Busy Mums Fit In Exercise

Busy parents will know that it often feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day. Between work, looking after the kids, looking after themselves, and fitting in family and friends time, finding time in a busy schedule to fit in regular workouts can be a challenge.

In fact, it's something PureGym Personal Trainers are asked quite often -- how and where can exercise fit in amongst kids, work, appointments, household chores, the school run, parties and all the rest?

How can exercise help busy mums?

When you're constantly busy, it's easy to swap taking time for yourself with getting something else ticked off, and keeping fit can quickly drop to the bottom of the priority list. However, constantly pushing back the time to take care of your own health and mental wellbeing can lead to stress and burnout, which can be difficult to recover from.

Prioritising looking after yourself will help to keep yourself, and your family, happy and healthy. Exercise isn't just great for your physical health -- it has so many mental health benefits too. For many parents, exercising also provides the one time each day where they can be alone and focus on themselves, even if it's just for a short time.

However, we know that this is often more easily said than done. So, how can busy mums stay fit? Here, Doni Thomson, PT and GM at PureGym Aberdeen gives some top tips to help fit some fitness into a busy week.

How to fit in exercise as a working mum

  1. Go easy on yourself

    Being a parent is time consuming and takes a lot of energy. Realistically, you might not have as much time to workout as you did before having kids, and that's okay! Just remember, doing something when you can is better than doing nothing. If that means grabbing 10 minutes during nap time to fit in some bodyweight squats, core work, and just get a little sweat on at home, that is great!

    To help you make the most of short workouts, we've provided seven 10-minute workout ideas here - a few of those throughout the week will definitely help to keep your fitness and strength levels up.

  2. Make the most of lunch breaks

    If you're working, try fitting exercise into some of your lunch breaks. Don't have time to make it to the gym? Even a 30-minute walk lunch would be a great place to start -- anything that gets your body moving and raises your heart rate will have benefits.

    If you can make it to the gym, or have the space to work out from home during your lunch break, then HIIT training is one of the most effective and convenient ways to fit lots of movement into a shorter amount of time (with results that are just as good as longer stretches of cardio). This HIIT guide offers a range of workouts for different fitness levels, as well as some workouts that can be done in anything from 5-20 minutes. 

    You can also check out some lunch break-specific workouts here, which are split into beginners, intermediate or advanced, or you can try this 30 minute, full body gym circuit which is perfect for fitting into the middle of the day.

  3. Book an exercise class at the gym

    Fitness classes are a great way for busy parents to fit in a good workout. They don't require much preparation or planning, and with most classes at PureGym being just 30-45 minutes, you can be gone and back home in a short space of time. And, if you're prone to cancelling or delaying your workouts, booking classes are a great way to be accountable!

    Most gyms offer a range of classes to suit all goals, so whether you want to stretch away your stress with yoga, burn fat and improve your cardio with spin, or sculpt and tone with a circuit class, there's bound to be something you enjoy at a time that you can do!

  4. Go on a family walk or hike

    The benefits of a good walk are often overlooked, yet getting in more steps each day can help with your mental and physical health and even help to burn some calories if you're looking to lose some weight. We've covered the benefits of walking in more detail here

    Going on long walks or hikes can be a great way to get the benefits of being active, while spending quality time with your family. With so many fantastic walking trails, parks, and coastlines in the UK, you may find there are some trails on your doorstep that the whole family can enjoy.

    Depending on the age of your kids, you can make walks more fun by incorporating activities like insect spotting, or bringing magnifying glasses, compasses, or anything else that makes the walk seem like an adventure.

  5. Take part in a child-friendly workout at home

    If finding the time for a solo workout seems unlikely, you could make working out a family activity. Doing a 15-20 minute workout is long enough to give you (and your little ones) the benefits of physical activity, without being too long that the kids get bored. This can also be a really great way to introduce exercise as a positive activity to your children, and can help your kids to burn off excess energy!

    There are plenty of exercise videos online that are suitable for all the family, or you can check out our Home Workouts or Free Workout Videos hubs to find some routines you can all take part in together.

  6. Go on a family bike ride

    If you have bikes, a family bike ride is a great way to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors, all while getting in plenty of exercise.

    Depending on the age of your child and how close you are to their nursery or school, you could also consider using kiddie trailers and seats and swapping the car for bike for some of the morning school runs in the lighter months on days when it's warmer and dry.

  7. Invest in some workout equipment

    This tip won't be suitable for everyone as it requires money and space, but if you have those available you could invest in some cardio equipment like a stationary bike, treadmill, or rowing machine, and keep these in the same room as your TV. That way, you can swap 20 minutes of sitting in the evening for some exercise, while still watching your favourite programme. This not only helps improve your cardio fitness and burn calories, but can help to reduce stress. Having the equipment at home makes it easier and more accessible to work out when you're limited for time.

    You can also invest in some weights or resistance bands to up your home workouts.

  8. Team up with another parent

    A lot of mums and dads are in a similar position, where they want to exercise but are struggling to fit it in. Why not speak to fellow parents and see if they'd be interested in teaming up -- maybe both your kids do the same after school activity, could you take them one week, and they the next, so that you both get a free evening every other week? Or why not arrange a day each week where you watch their kids and they can work out, and a day where they look after yours?

If you're a mum (or dad) who's ready to hit the gym, then PureGym is an excellent choice - our gyms are filled with high end equipment, but our membership prices are low, meaning you're not spending too much if you're not able to commit to a session every week. Find a gym near you and get started today.

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