Monday, February 1, 2010

Exercise in the Midst of Motherhood?

The Question:

How do you get exercise when your kids are really little? As I've asked this same question of friends and family, their solutions don't always work for me and my situation. Some have their husband watch the kids while they get away to exercise, but my husband is in school all day and studying at home...I can't really ask that of him at this stage of our lives. Some say they join a gym with babysitting, but the student budget doesn't allow for such splurges. I used to take them along in the stroller and speedwalk at the mall, but that was when there were two who fit in a double stroller. Now that there are three, I can't spring for a triple stroller. I tried making the oldest walk along side but his four year old legs couldn't keep a pace that made me feel like I was getting any real exercise. He doesn't yet peddle a bike fast enough to create a workout, either. Do you have any suggestions?

The Answer:

I have just four words for you--"The 30 Day Shred". It's a short but powerful workout video. It's done in levels so you can move up and kids love doing it with you. It's not for sissys. My college-age daughters love it and are challenged by it. My daughter-in-law, Andy has been doing it all through her third pregnancy. I think I paid about ten dollars for it on and it's one of the very few videos I've bought that has delivered my money's worth and then some.

Some other suggestions: I used to take a brisk walk with my friend for a half an hour after my kids were in bed. It was dark alright and I never felt like putting my shoes on at the end of a long day. But I was always glad when I got going.

If you're an early riser, you might prefer exercising before your husband leaves in the morning. Several young mothers I know meet at daylight and walk or run for 45 minutes.
You might mix it up. Run when you can and do the video when you can't.

I was never a faithful runner until I was finished with pregnancy and nursing. Trust me, that was a lot of years of hit or miss exercise. I'm not sure I would have had the energy to go every day back then. It was such a happy surprise to find that I was still intact enough to start a program at my age. So don't push too hard. Just do what you can and if you stay active, play with your kids, run up and down the stairs and watch your diet, you'll stay in remarkably good shape considering the amount of time you are able to put into it.

Good Luck,



  1. I like the idea of exercises you can do at home, like that awesome-sounding video. Plus the idea that through small things every day (carrying kids, going up the stairs), we can maintain our health even if we don't have a gym membership!

  2. We have young moms in our ward who will get together a few times a week and go walking after the kids are in bed. I don't know how they do it, because when my sons were finally asleep, the last thing I wanted to do was leave the house. I wanted to stay right there and enjoy the quiet. But it works for them.
    I always thought it would be great if we had stairs. That would be the natural exerciser, right?

  3. My ward has a group that exercises MWF at the church building. They set up one side with toys and a video for the kids, and they do various videos or workouts on the other half. Some days its a little crazy, but other days, it works great!

  4. I LOVE that you said, the most incredibly effective one available. I actually just did it right before supper. I also found that whne I was ready to start running again (when my baby was about four months), this DVD easily put me to a place where I was able to run 4-5km almost right away.
    Excercise is definitely tricky to fit in...but for me, feeling strong and good about myself makes me a much better mom!

  5. I was actually thinking about this today myself. I am a mother of 7 month old twins and can't afford the time or the means for a gym membership. But I was very proud of myself when I had the chance to go out hiking this weekend and felt pretty good through it and afterward. I attribute it too the home work out regimen as well. I have been doing nothing more than a basic yoga video 20 mins a day 4-5 days a week. It does some strengthening, but I love it more for the deep stretching and overall loosening of the muscles I get from it. It seems some days all i do to snuggle and feed my children just puts my body in a binded position by the end of the day. Its also very relaxing (even though its rare i get through it without hitting pause a few times to tend to someones whimpers or something). I had never done yoga pre-pregnancy, but another reason I love it now is it always ends leaving you in a prayer position. So its a built in reminder in your day to stop and take a moment while your mind is clear to say a prayer of gratitude.

  6. Another idea I love is when you get the chance to do that date night with your hubby, do something active together. It makes you feel more like kids again together. We had a great time this weekend actually hiking up a run on the ski resort on a full moon evening (as there is no night skiing here). We carried a few logs in each of our packs, had a fire and roasted some smores at the top. Then the best part where we truly felt like children was that we sledded back down the ski run. The longest sled ride of your life and something you can't do during the day when the resort is open. But it could be regular sledding as well, or in the summer ice-blocking. Just get out.

  7. If your kids are like mine, joining a gym with babysitting really DOESN'T help -- so be glad you're saving that money! I had a membership for a few years, but my babies would not put up with being left and I'd feel guilty knowing they were in there crying. The older ones would do fine, but at least at my gym, it was a major hassle to get the time scheduled plus it seemed like an absolute, unsupervised madhouse.

    And when you figure it's hard enough to get all your kids dressed and ready and out the door to do something you like, it's easy to find excuses not to go when it's something you don't like as much.

    I think lots of different things work at different stages. If your baby isn't too heavy, you could try walking with a baby Bjorn and a double stroller. Or you could borrow my triple stroller for a while, if you're in Utah County.

    Getting up early is the only way I'm finding to work out right now. It's killing me to wake up at 6 a.m. before I really HAVE to, but it's working, I only have to do it 3 days a week, and I don't feel like the rest of my day is cut into as much. Plus, it makes our usual 6:45 wake-up time feel like sleeping in on the other two days.

    I like Jane's suggestions of finding a friend to walk with in the evenings or just going alone. Especially when the weather gets nice, it is so rejuvenating to get some peace and quiet at the end of a long day.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.