Cliche or not, huge numbers of us see the new year as the right time to lose weight and get a bit fitter. Many mums feel they have no time or money to exercise, but Rachel (no avid sportswoman herself) says that’s utter bollocks. Anyone can get fitter, and that includes knackered, skint mums! Here is some #mumspiration for the exercise reluctant among you…
I’m a walking January cliche. In an effort to sort out my ever-growing squishy middle I’m committing to be fitter in 2015. I love the feeling after exercise, but I am not a natural exerciser; I have to fight off my inner monologue (who is quite a formidably lazy bitch, prone to scoffing chocolates and drinking wine by the bucketload).
After a few days of online research into what is available locally, I have decided to try out a few cheap and realistic options and see what works. Then by the time February comes around I want to have settled into a routine that I will stick to.
What are you planning? Anything at all? Sport England says women don’t do enough exercise because they’re scared of being judged. They’ve just launched a drive to challenge that called #thisgirlcan. I love the campaign but I’m just not sure they’ve hit the nail on the head – when it comes to mums anyway. I reckon that the number one reason why mums don’t exercise is that they don’t have time. But lack of time – or money – is NOT an excuse (even if it’s bloody hard to make time – it is possible)! And you know it deep down, just like I do.
For me it’s more about being super busy (balancing childcare and blogging) and never prioritising exercise. It’s always way down at the bottom the list. But actually that is so stupid of me. Because when I don’t make time for exercise I get all stressy and overworked, I’m terrible company and I sleep badly. It’s actually counterproductive. If I make time for me and fit some physical exertion in the mix, I am more relaxed, I feel healthier, I feel happier, therefore I can work more efficiently.
Convinced yet? Well, if you still need a wee budge in the right direction, then here is a bit of Still You #mumspiration. I’ve listed 10 ways to get a bit fitter that anyone could do, whatever your budget and time allowance. Listen, if I can do it – you can too.
1. Buy a couple of DVDs and workout at home.
For lazy girls like me, exercising at home using DVDs is the way forward. I recommend Davina for a good all round workout. Or how about yoga (my current choice) for some lovely stretching and relaxation that doesn’t even feel like exercise. I have both of these DVDs -anyone can do them.
>> Buy Davina – My Three 30 Minute Workouts
>> Buy Flow Yoga: Elements of Yoga: Air & Water with Tara Lee
2. Put on your trainers and go for a run (or a walk-run)
I have had an on/off relationship with running for a few years. I never stick with it, so I am always in the OHMYGODIMGOINGTOBESICK mode after 10 minutes without a break. Consistency is key with running, only once in my life have I passed that stage, when training for a 10K (that I never actually did as my son went into hospital). When you break through that pain barrier it is AWESOME. Running gives a high like no other. Even if you start with a walk-run and build up to a gentle 10 minute jog, you’ll feel the benefits and drop lots of weight. It is worth investing in a decent pair of running shoes though.
Tip: Have a target! A 5K or 10K is about right for beginners or improvers. Also, the Race For Life has some great training schedules that literally anybody could manage. Check them out here.
>> Check out this range of colourful and high fashion trainers from Sweaty Betty
>> Looking for something a bit cheaper? MandMDirect are great for low cost trainers
3. Don’t fancy running? Simply walk then!
I am a big walker. If I could I would do a couple of rambles per week. I am lucky enough to live in the Peak District, but even if you are in a city there will be a large park or similar nearby where you would walk for an hour. Rambling is WAY cool by the way; Cameron Diaz is a big fan. And you will look exactly like her if you ramble too. Honest!
Tip: time your walk for nap time if yours are still that age and take them in the buggy on a buggy friendly track or trail.
>> Check out Mountain Warehouse’s inexpensive walking range if you fancy hiking
4. Check out your local classes
I live in the back of beyond – and there are still LOADS of options for classes. From Zumba in the village hall tonight, to Hot Yoga on a Friday morning a short drive away – even a regular evening running club run by mums. Get online and see what’s on. Work out the best time slot for you given your childcare / work commitments, diarise the class and, most importantly – ACTUALLY GO! That last bit is always my undoing…
Tip: Check out your local netmums directory for local classes – many of which encourage taking baby along.
5. Take up a new sport
So, this is something I am often daydreaming about. I just KNOW I’d be awesome at tennis (I did used to have the odd knock about as a 10 year old with my brother), and there is a local tennis club here too. What’s holding me back? Kids, that’s what! Maybe this Spring will be the right time for me to come over all Navaratalova. OK, so a new sport often requires a bit of kit to be purchased. But you can always get secondhand stuff.
Tip: check out your local newspaper classifieds, Gumtree or Preloved for good quality second hand gear.
6. Use your subsidised local amenities
Even remote villages like mine have a local swimming pool nearby or even a council run gym that offers exercise opportunities at a reduced rate. Go and check out what is going on.
Fact: swimming for half an hour burns more calories than running – and is less stressful on your legs. Even if you swim like an old lady (like I do).
7. What’s happening at the park?
From inexpensive bootcamps (my local one costs just £4 per session) to exercise equipment free for all to use, there are many ways you can utilise your park to get fit. Damn it, borrow a dog if that makes you feel better!
Idea: if there is nothing going on at the park already then start something. An arrangement with a few other mums to get together weekly for a session – bring the babies too – is more likely to happen than if you are planning to go alone.
8. Skip to it.
This one is for you – yes YOU! The mum who says they have NO TIME at all to fit in exercise. Because that’s twaddle. 15 minutes skipping each day and you will see the difference in a few weeks. I have just ordered one! (Because I AM that mum).
>> Buy a Skipping rope from Amazon for £2.27!
9. Do the plank whilst
watching listening to the telly!
I used to do the plank sometimes, but then I forgot to and started eating sticky toffee pudding too much instead. If you do the plank every night (or even most nights) – maybe do one during the ad break – then you will soon start to develop a stronger core.
Tip: Check out how to do a perfect plank here. Scroll down to see the forearm plank, which is the only type I can do.
10. Take the stairs, get off a stop earlier, don’t take a taxi – just MOVE MORE!
It’s simple. Instead of waiting for my daughter’s preschool to open, standing in the cold for 20 minutes on my lonesome, today I walked up the hill and back down again. Simply be more mindful of how much potential there is for increased movement during your day – and take each opportunity to MOVE MORE. This should be in addition to, not instead of the above options. Ooh, get me, all STRICT!
I will test out a few of these and I PROMISE to develop a routine which incorporates at least a few of them. Will you do it too?