We’ve all been there. We know we SHOULD be making our way to the gym to exercise, but we just can’t muster the motivation. Scrubbing the dishes sounds like a more attractive option. Though, of course, parking ourselves on the sofa sounds like the best choice of all.
As a mom or mom-to-be, you probably feel this way more often than you did during your child-free days, when pregnancy and the demands of motherhood weren’t further sapping your energy.
Here are five strategies to get you moving when exercising is the last thing you want to do.
1. Lace up your kicks and see what happens.
Inertia is a powerful thing. The longer we sit around, the harder it can be to get up. Can’t talk yourself into a CrossFit workout? Put on your shoes and take a walk outside. Keep your goal modest – maybe just once around the block. If you’re someone who needs a destination, plan to walk to get the mail or grab a few groceries at the store. You may find that your energy levels pick up the moment the fresh air hits you. And now that you’re out there, maybe that one trip around the block turns into four. Maybe you get really motivated and power walk or find your way into neighborhoods with a few challenging hills (can you say, “interval workout”?). Maybe I ride by on my bike and see you doing push ups next to your stroller. 🙂
2. Get a workout buddy.
Often finding the time for exercise comes down to accountability. If you know your girlfriend is waiting for you at the gym, you’re much more likely to show up than you would be if you were going on your own – especially on those low energy days. Plus, it can be hard to find time to spend with friends, so working out together provides an opportunity for much needed time for yourself and away from family.
3. Remember you don’t have to “kill it.”
If you get to the gym and you still don’t have energy for that 60-minute spin class, don’t sweat it. Make today a light day. If a yoga class is available, take that. Or create your own workout: go low intensity on a piece of cardio equipment for 20 minutes; follow that with 20 minutes of low resistance weight training; complete your workout with 15 minutes of core work to strengthen your TVA and your pelvic floor (e.g. kegels). Our bodies actually do BETTER if we combine intense exercise sessions with light ones.
4. Carve out time when you know your energy levels are highest.
People in general, and expectant moms in particular, have natural highs and lows during the day. If you’re expecting a baby and are experiencing stereotypical morning sickness, plan to work out later in the day when you’re feeling better. Are you more of a morning person? Set an alarm and get that workout in before the kids get up.
5. Reward yourself.
And no, I don’t mean with Oreos (sorry!). Treat yourself to a pedicure or a new article of clothing if you fit in at least 10 exercise sessions during the course of the month. Need a more immediate reward? How about a nice hot bath after your trip to the gym? Or enlist the help of your spouse or partner, and ask for a foot massage to reward your hard work!
And if you just can’t do, be kind to yourself. Obviously you shouldn’t ALWAYS give into inertia, but sometimes rest is truly what you need as a busy mom or mom-to-be. Rest up today, and give it your best shot tomorrow.