By now, everyone knows that regular exercise is something we’re encouraged to do. But it isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds! It’s hard to make time for it, it’s hard to stick with it, and it definitely isn’t always the most fun use of our precious time. Hopefully in sharing some of my exercise experiences as a young stay-at-home mom, I can encourage or give ideas of how to best implement this healthy habit into your life if you aren’t currently doing so.
Part A: How long after my babies are born. With both of my children, it took me a solid eight months to get back into a regular groove of working out. I’m not sure why eight was the number; it likely had to do with the increasing independence of my babes and the larger amount of sleep I was getting that enabled me to have more energy. Another factor why I believe this is the time where I start to get the urge and the flexibility to more regularly exercise is because by this point, I’m not breastfeeding as often or as long as I was in months previous. Not only does this mean baby can go longer without needing to nurse, but it also means that I’m not burning as many calories as before so my body needs more of an outlet to burn off excess calories. The need is there, the flexibility is there, and my body has had a vast amount of time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
Part B: Time of day. This has fluctuated a bit over the years. I went through a period of exercising at night after the kids were in bed – this wasn’t as awful as it sounds. Back when my second baby was still taking two naps, I’d exercise during her first nap (around 10 a.m.). This gave breakfast enough time to settle but I wasn’t yet out of energy from the first meal of the day. My son would either exercise with me (one of my favorite ways to spend time with him) or enjoy some screen time while I did so. I’d even have enough time to shower before my babe woke up. I really liked those days. My current routine is to wake up early (something I really struggle with) and get my workout in before either of my kiddos wake up for the day.
WhatI own a variety of workout videos that I switch back and forth between. In my beginning stages, or when I’ve taken a break for a few weeks and have lost muscle mass, flexibility, and durability, I stick to the simpler, beginner videos. You know, the ones that feel more like a dance party than an exercise routine. And as I get more in shape, I switch to some more intense videos.
WhereIt’s probably obvious by now that I workout in my home. However, I know plenty of people that have to physically leave their house to get the motivation to exercise and I can definitely see why that would be the case. I suppose I may run into that later down the road, but for now, I’m content in my living room. I did take a BIRTHFIT Postpartum Series when my second babe was a few months old. It was a class of postpartum women who met together at a local gym and learned from a coach how to safely begin exercising after being cleared for sex and exercise after childbirth.
WhoSpeaking of BIRTHFIT, friends always have a way of making exercise more fun! Once a week, a handful of girls in my neighborhood meet to play pickleball in a park or gymnasium with pickleball lines painted on the floor. I try to go to this as often as my schedule allows me, because it’s exercising without feeling like exercising thanks to the conversations and interactions going on throughout that hour and a half span of time. Or occasionally I can talk my husband into doing a workout video with me or I’ll meet up with a friend also pushing a stroller and walk with her.
Part 1: My reward system. My husband and I write out a list of “rewards” that we buy if we’ve worked out every day that week. Something in the $10-15 range, or something we need and would otherwise pay for (like a haircut or a new razor). Working toward a goal really helps motivate me to get out of bed and get my workout in. Plus, there are bigger, monthly rewards (like a pair of shoes or an expensive makeup item) up for grabs if I haven’t missed a day in those four weeks. Another added bonus is it’s really fun to compete with and against my husband.
Part 2: I actually feel good. I feel good physically, I feel accomplished, I feel happier, I feel sore, and I feel like the rest of my day is more productive due to starting out the day with something so good for me. Exercising has been referred to as a “key stone” habit. If exercising is happening, it causes other good habits to take place like eating healthier, better sleeping habits, and even better hygiene.