Updated: Feb 2, 2021
It can be hard to find time to go to the bathroom alone, much less find time to exercise. Plus, if exercise hasn't been a recent part of your routine, it sucks getting back in shape. But then it starts to hurt so good.
Exercise has tons of health benefits for people, but for parents specifically, it can make or break your mental health. Exercise has been show to help decrease depression, anxiety, and being annoyed by your children and your spouse. Okay, I made up that last part, but it is true for me, so maybe it'll work for you?
One of my favorite parts of exercise? Alone time. Peace and solitude. No one calling my name. No one screaming because somebody took the other person's toy. Magic. Plus I feel like a badass afterwards.
Check out my 4 favorite tips for parents to find time to exercise.
And then just do it. Without thinking about it. Because if you think about it, it may not happen.
1. Early Morning
When I say early morning, I mean early. Like, before your kids wake up, early.
This was my favorite way to exercise when I was working a full time, at an out-of-the-house job, with no flexibility to work out during the day. I hate waking up early, and it was still my favorite time of the day. If you know me, that should really tell you something.
Whether you sign up for a 530AM cycle class, hit the pavement for an early run to enjoy the sunrise, or quietly practice yoga in your living room, set your alarm, even if it's just once a week, and get 'er done!
My favorite ways to making this happen?
Set a reoccurring alarm. The last thing you want to do the night before your early morning workout is to have to remember to set your alarm, which provides you with the opportunity to question whether you want to wake up early, which, at least for me, highly increases the chances of bailing out. Set a recurring alarm, even if it is just once a week, and make your early morning workout something that you just do on certain days of the week.
Also, if you value your relationship with your partner, you may want to consider making your alarm very quiet, or even silent. You can set your alarm to vibrate and place your phone under your pillow so you feel it vibrate, and so you don't wake up your partner (or the rest of the house).
Euphoric High: Walking back into the house soaked with sweat and feeling strong before the sun comes up or your kids are awake offers a truly euphoric high.
More Energy: Even with the early morning wake up and a little less sleep, I find myself much more energized on these days.
Alone Time: Not sure if I can think of any other time of the day or week where you can truly be alone. With just your thoughts. No children. No spouse. No boss. This alone time is enough to provide you with the patience needed to take on all of those who will be waiting for you when you return from this blissful workout.
No Procrastination: Working out first thing in the morning offers no time to make excuses, no time to lose steam throughout the day, and no opportunity for other priorities to arise. You wake up. You work out. You mark it off of your list of things to do for the day.
No One Misses You: No one is vying for time at 5AM (and if they are, you need to talk to me about getting your kids to sleep during the night!). Your kids are asleep. Your spouse is asleep. You creep out of the house. And if luck is on your side, your kids will still be sleeping when you are finished with your workout. No one is asking where you are going. No one is begging to come along. There is no guilt.
No Child Care: Your spouse (snoozing, or not) will keep guard over your sleeping children. If you are a single parent or your spouse is traveling, you can do your workout inside the house (or even in your back yard!).
Early Wake Up: No one likes losing sleep. Try to get to bed a little earlier on the nights before your early morning wake up call so you still catch enough Zzz's.
Kids Are Early Risers: Of course, if your kids wake up at 5AM, this may not be for you.
2. Run Your Errands... literally
On the weekends, lace up your sneaks or hop on your bike, and meet the rest of the family at your final destination. Whether you are taking the kids to the park, hitting up the farmers market, or heading to Target, this is a fun way to get your workout in.
Want to win over your spouse? Offer him/her the opportunity to get the same workout and alone time! You run/ride there, and your spouse can run/ride home. This leaves everyone feeling like they can handle the time alone with the kids and eliminates any feelings of resentment or envy.
Leave the house while your kiddos are getting dressed and into the car to give you a little lead time. And to return the favor, allow your spouse to leave the park a little early or to hit the pavement while you checkout at the store.