Can I just say I miss the days when I would walk miles everyday between classes at college, go country dancing at least once a week, and spend my time studying while walking on the treadmill. It was so very easy to get plenty of movement into my life before kids. It was easy to get outside and walk, to get my exercise in everyday, and to enjoy doing it. In many ways I miss the ease of those days.
Now, my life is happily busy with 4 children. Most of my time is spent at home. I homeschool, blog, spend lots of time cooking nutritious meals, and lots more time snuggling babies. I’ve found that although I’m busy chasing toddlers I’m not getting in the exercise I use too, and it is increasingly more difficult to find enough time to pee in peace, let alone finding thirty minutes to get a good workout in. This has actually been a frustration for me for some time now. I’ve tried to adapt , and I’ve certainly learned to love a good HIIT workout, but I wanted something more.
Luckily, I stumbled upon the work of Katy Bowman and her website Nutritious Movement. In turn that has since lead me to several other experts on proper alignment and proper movement, but lets start with a few life changing tips that are hugely impacting the way I move, and in turn lessening the need for that dedicated thirty minutes a day.
Katy’s philosophy is to simply move more and more dynamically. She does this by making really simple changes to her life. She squats every time she needs to pick something up off the floor, she moves the most used kitchen items to the lower cabinets, she uses a standing desk, and she makes sure to take frequent movement breaks.
You guys! I needed this woman in my life. She does awesome stuff, like heal all kinds of body pain by teaching you to move properly, but even without that, I needed a reminder of the simple joys of moving my body. This may sound weird coming from a health blogger, but after four pregnancies I had inadvertently found ways to change my movement habits so that I didn’t have to squat or bend any more than absolutely necessary… It’s just a miserable experience to do so when pregnant for me, so this gave me the opportunity to rethink every move I make. Instead of picking items up with my toes, (yep, I am a pro at that) I’m going to squat. Instead of sweeping the clutter into an easy pile for kids to pick up, I’m going to count how many squats or lunges I get in by doing the job. Instead of bending at the waist to pick up things down low I’m going to squat.
Examples of How to Implement The “No Time” Workout Routine:
Laundry Workout (or Dishwasher Workout)
Raise your hand if you squat down to remove the laundry and try your darndest to get the entire load into your arms before moving to stand up and dump it all on the counter…. Come on now, please raise your hand. I don’t want to be the only one that has been guilty of this one. Here is your awesome quick fix to add movement to your laundry routine. This lady is awesome.
Potty Time Workout
I don’t know about you, but I generally can’t even take five seconds to use the toilet without someone yelling for mom. But, regardless, that door is locked and I am in some small way taking a moment for myself. So, I’ve extended every potty trip by a few seconds and I do ten of any kind of exercise… squats, lunges, push ups, anything goes. This way I end up getting in a lot more squats than I would have if I had done a ten minute HIIT workout.
Baby Weight Workouts
Yes. Being a mom means that you are constantly holding a child. Yes. Being a mom means that there is no alone time. No. That doesn’t mean that you can’t workout. Here is where the most simple adaptation comes into play. Forget buying weights and just lift the kid instead. Need a 15 lb weight? Grab the 4 month old. Need a 30 lb weight? Grab the two-year old. Kids think it’s fun. It teaches them the value of family time and exercise. And most importantly, it keeps you in shape and healthy for many many years of family fun together.
I love Kristy, from Baby Fit Gym. I recommend following her Instagram or Youtube channel for tips and tricks and workouts that will help you involve the kiddos. Here is a great example of the kinds of workouts she shares:
Do the Stairs
Ok, We’ve all heard this one. We know it’s better to take the stairs. But how do you add more stairs into your routine at home without having to add in an actual stair workout? For me this was simple. I have a habit of cleaning up and leaving a pile by the stairs to be taken up or down all at once. Said pile was generally then taken up or down by a child and not myself. So, instead of making that pile, or using the “stair basket” that I have seen in some places. I take it after I do that squat to pick it up. Wah-la! Stairs done for the day.
Sit on the Floor
Ditching chairs and couches helps you to use your core more. This may seem extremely small or insignificant, but I’ve found that it has made me stronger and decreased back pain. I’ve also found that since I’m not completely relaxed while sitting I will sit less, or will add in some stretching while I’m there.
Treadmill or Standing Desk
A huge amount of back pain comes from sitting at a desk all day. Our backs slump, our shoulders pull forward, and then when the day is over we have tight chest muscles and a sore back. who would want to exercise in that condition? So ditch the chair. You can either buy a standing desk, or improvise with a stack of books under your laptop to boost the height. You can also add a balance board for a little fun and added core workout. Or better yet get a treadmill desk and walk while you work. I don’t have a treadmill desk yet, but I know a lot of bloggers that love them. It’s on my wish list. For now, I have a stack of books.
Stop searching for the closest parking spot at the grocery store. Instead pick one at the back of the parking lot. Stop driving and walk when you can. If you have to drive, park a mile away from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Enjoy a brisk morning walk, or an evening walk as a family.
Yes, this step does take more time. But, walking is soothing to the body. It is a good time to connect with nature and enjoy the company of loved ones. Opt to go for a walk instead of watching a movie.
A few years ago I told my husband I needed a hobby that helped me to move. I had lots of hobbies and activities that were important to me, however, none of those activities got me off my butt. I love to paint. I love to blog. I love to teach my kids. It seemed like the list of important things that kept me trapped indoors and in my chair was piling up and I needed and wanted something to change. No. I didn’t want to give up any of the hobbies I already had. But I wanted to add one that made me move, something that I loved enough that I would make sure it happened on a regular basis.
I can’t say that I’ve found that perfect hobby yet, but I’m searching. For now, the search is filling that gap. You could choose dance, yoga, Zumba, hiking, swimming, kayaking, skiing… anything goes. Just make sure it moves your body and invigorates your mind.