There’s something about September. Maybe it’s the leaves falling from the trees or the familiar smell of new textbooks. Perhaps it’s the fresh wave of motivation that often hits around September 1st.
Whatever it is, there’s no denying that this month signals a fresh start for everyone, not just the kids, and if you’re a busy mum who’s been run ragged all summer, with little time to look after yourself, consider this your cue to prioritise you.
Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, or simply improve how your body functions, know this: You don’t need to wait until the new year to put a fitness plan in motion.
In fact, there’s never been a better time to take action and you don’t have to go down the crash diet or gruelling workout route to make a change.
Want to be a fitter, healthier mum without spending hours counting calories or exercising at the gym? Here are a few easy busy mum fitness tips to get you started…
Okay, hear us out. We know what you’re thinking. Sometimes you’re so busy it’s difficult to grab five minutes by yourself, let alone a block of time dedicated to working out.
Got very little room for manoeuvre in your day-to-day schedule? Take inventory of how you spend your time each week. Map it out on paper or in a scheduling app and see where you can find 30 minutes four times a week for yourself.
Ask yourself: What current activities and commitments are no longer serving me? Can you remove these from your schedule?
This might mean getting up slightly earlier in the morning if it’s possible for you to do so, scheduling a short workout during your lunch break, or turning the TV off a little earlier in the evenings.
Remember this: the best health and fitness programme for busy mums is one that already fits into your current lifestyle.
It’s not about overhauling what you do day to day or adding another item to your already overflowing to-do list, but creating a realistic fitness schedule, so you can mind your physical and mental health on a consistent basis.
Being a mum often means lots of running around and you might just be surprised at how much movement you already do on a daily basis.
Here’s the really great news: incidental exercise, (i.e. the physical activity you do by completing everyday activities, like walking to work, hoovering, or running after the kids) has a stack load of health and fitness benefits.
In fact, science says, 10 minutes a day of incidental exercise that makes you huff and puff, can be as beneficial as going on a 30-minute walk.
Got a short errand to run? Consider doing it on foot rather than taking the car or the bus. Putting off those household chores? Let the health benefits motivate you to grab those rubber gloves. Even getting the groceries counts!
Now that the kids are back at school you might find there’s less opportunity to pick leftovers from their plates (a clear win!) or that you have more freedom when it comes to what you eat during the day.
See this as an opportunity to improve what you put on your plate. You could simply add an extra serving of veg to every meal, replace white bread with wholegrain, or aim to eat a little more protein.
Another healthy eating hack? Eat more slowly. Studies show it makes you less likely to overindulge and it’ll be much easier to do when the kids aren’t around.
Not sure what else you can do to improve your diet in a way that feels empowering and sustainable, rather than depressing and restrictive? These 25 simple healthy eating hacks should steer you in the right direction.
Packed lunch season is upon us, but while you’re busy making your kids’ lunches as healthy as can be, don’t forget to make one for yourself.
A study published in 2017 found that meal preparation was associated with better food variety, diet quality and body status. It also offsets time scarcity and makes you less likely to grab (less nutrient-dense) food on the go.
You don’t have to unleash your inner Jamie Oliver to prepare lunches that are as healthy as they are tasty. A healthy lunch should include a balance of lean protein (like chicken), complex carbohydrates (think wholegrain rice, pasta, or tortillas), healthy fats (like avocado, nuts, and seeds), and veg.
Another busy mum fitness hack? Don’t forget to add some seasoning! A healthy packed lunch doesn’t have to be dull.
Have you ever been told to simply walk 10,000 steps a day and found it difficult to suppress an eye roll? It takes roughly an hour and a half to walk 10,000 steps and when you’re a busy mum that’s a helluva lot of time spent putting pedis to pavement.
Got a schedule that simply won’t allow for the 10,000 target? Don’t sweat it. Research shows that the idea you need to hit 10,000 steps a day for optimum health is kind of a myth. Actually, it started out as a marketing slogan, and researchers now believe that 7,500 is a better benchmark to aim for.
If that still feels out of reach, you might feel better aiming for a more realistic target. Maybe adding an extra 1,500-2000 steps a day feels more achievable, or you’re simply happy if you get outside for a 20-minute walk. You do you.
If you need a little more inspiration about how to get those steps in, try these 23 ways to take more steps throughout your day.
There’s a whole lot of effort involved in going to the gym, like packing up all the gear you need and taking the time to travel there. You might even need to find someone who can look after the kids while you work out.
Consider video workouts your new best friend. You can get your sweat on in the living room after the morning rush, strengthen your muscles at lunch, or get in a quick HIIT session before the kids’ bedtimes.
A plan like Power Of Mum (more on that below!) lets you easily slot fitness into your jam-packed schedule with on-demand video workouts, a 24/7 support group, nutritional advice, and loads more.
See? You don’t even need to leave the house to make progress.
Have you ever watched your little ones running amok and wished you could bottle their energy? You can’t borrow their spirit but you can certainly join in. Get in on the action when they’re running around the garden, dancing in the kitchen, or playing in the street.
It’s a small change, but you shouldn’t underestimate its power. Play is shown to lower stress hormones, strengthen bones and muscles, and boost your lung and heart health. Add to that, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Make it a regular habit and you’ll be well on your way to improving your health and fitness.
And finally, remember just how capable you are. Maybe you think you couldn’t possibly run 5k but you regularly spend time running after the kids. Perhaps you reckon lifting a 5kg weight is completely out of the question, but you regularly walk around with a small child perched on one hip.
Making a change can be daunting, but there’s never been a more important investment than the one you make in yourself. So go on, give yourself a fresh start this September. We believe in you.
Need extra support to get your health and fitness back on track? Tried of being tired and ready to feel fitter and stronger than you ever have? Join Power Of Mum: a life-changing health and fitness programme created specifically for busy mums like you.
This transformative six-week plan includes x4 PT-led video workouts a week, a 24/7 Whatsapp support group that will keep your motivation soaring high, a live Q&A with a nutritionist, and weekly check-ins to keep you accountable.
Ready to commit? Click here to sign up or learn more.