4th April 2016

Many of us really struggle to find the time to fit in any exercise once we become mums. It’s very common and totally understandable.

You are busy running around after a small person who can’t do anything for his/her self. On top of that, you might have a business or job you haven’t been able to take much time away from, a house that you can only let become so dirty, clothes to clean, food to cook, shops to go to – so really, it’s no surprise that finding time to stay fit has fallen by the wayside.

And what about those of you who are on baby two, three or more? Mums of more than one are possibly even more stretched and might get more frustrated by the lack of time to exercise.

One of the first golden rules to help you fit in fitness is to stop thinking of it as huge chunks of time, or something that you need to block out massive slices of your diary for. The key is to just do something, at least to begin with. Some exercise is always better than no exercise so do what you can, when you can.

Depending on the ages and abilities of your children there are lots of ways you genuinely can keep fit with the kids in tow.

Having one to one sessions at home with a professional trainer is one way to get around the conundrum, especially now that spring is here and summer is on the way. Your trainer will be able to take you and the kids into the garden and while baby sits or plays (using a playpen is a good trick) you can workout and there’s another adult there to keep an eye on them while you get down the serious sweaty bits. We find that babies of 5 months or more, who can sit up are often mesmerised by watching mum jump and run around! Older kids can get a bit more involved and try their own exercises. And of course, you don’t have to have a garden, a lounge works just fine too.

Remember that doing small amounts to begin with is fine. Keep telling yourself that something, is better that nothing.

So, can you find one class a week that is baby/child friendly? Our post natal restore course is one you can bring bubs along to and our outdoor classes are perfect for exercising with children in tow. Just check out our Instagram to see plenty of pics of mums getting fit with their buggies in the background. And now that it’s spring/summer there’s more chance to throw down a blanket and let older babies sit and crawl while you bust your fitness moves? It’s okay if you have to break off to chase (chasing is good!), or feed, or soothe because you’re doing something, rather than nothing.

Screenshot 2016-04-04 at 5.41.21 PM Screenshot 2016-04-04 at 5.40.42 PMScreenshot 2016-04-04 at 5.50.17 PM

Family swimming is a really fun way to get some exercise in. If you can go along to a pool with the kids and another adult, either your partner or a friend, you can can take it in turns to swim lengths while the other stays with the little ones. Depending on the ages of your children you can try racing or coming up with games that get you moving. Throw a ball that you all have to swim after. The kids will love it and the combination of getting your heart pumping and seeing your kids happy is so good for you.

Also, most parents would more than likely say that they’d like their kids to get into a sport, even if they don’t play any themselves. We reckon that plenty of adults would also like to get into a sport so why not? You’re never too old right? Playing sport with your kids is a lovely thing so another suggestion would be to pick something together and find a beginners class that both adults and children can attend. There’s a great page here on the BBC to help inspire you, click on one of the sport icons that you’ll see on the page and you can watch a video and find out more about each sport. 

Click on any of these icons on the BBC Get Inspired page to find out more about how to get involved in each sport

Click on any of these icons on the BBC Get Inspired page to find out more about how to get involved in each sport

We know we’re not the first to talk about trying to ‘fit in exercise as a fun activity to do with your children’ and it’s the sort of thing you read and possibly think ‘yeah right, I’ll never get around to doing it or my kids will be fed up within 5 minutes,’ Well, honestly, give it a go. Your kids might surprise you and love it for a bit longer than 5 minutes and 10 to 15 minutes exercise is better than none! So, here’s a trick we tried this week which is particularly good if you have one child in a buggy and another who is old enough to run around with you. Park bubs by your gate or in your front garden and take it in turns to run/jog/sprint to the end of the road and back (or an agreed marker on the street). One runs, one stays with baby. Team Jelly Belly PT loved this one last week. You can also do this with other mums and friends either on each other’s streets or in the park. The more kids there are, the more they will love it. We also tried some jogging around the block a few times with a scooter-ing 5-year-old in tow and that was lots of fun too.  (Do check out our tips on getting back into running here and here though.)

Also, if you’re outside and you have a bench nearby, use it! A few arm dips, or step ups are easily done while the kids playing, watching, giggling at you. Just go for it. If you take up some one-to-one training your trainer can easily give you an army of moves to try doing whenever and wherever. And it doesn’t have to be outside. Do them between chores at home, 20 mountain climbers before hanging out the washing, some breathing exercises for your core and pelvic floor before hitting your emails.

Once you’ve built in this everyday activity approach to exercise you may find that you are ready and willing to set bigger goals and and make more of a time commitment. By then, baby will have got a bit older, you’ll be a bit stronger and you’ve laid the ground work. We’ll be cheering you every step of the way! (And one step is better than no steps….)


WORDS: Penny Stretton


How to fit in exercise when you're busy being a mum - Jelly Belly PT