Q: “What tips do you have for getting exercise as a busy mom? Walks with seven children aren’t very much exercise or fun. I love to swim, but there isn’t time or money for that in this season.”
A: Great question. We’re all looking for ways to stay active during this season of social distancing. Exercise can become a bit more complicated once you’re a mom (especially a mom of seven—you are a rockstar!). But we’re confident these ideas will help you squeeze in a workout and boost your spirits.
- Invest in a few jump ropes and hula hoops.
You and your children will have a blast with these nostalgic favorites that—hooray!—get your heart pumping, too. Host a jump rope contest and see which of the kiddos can outlast mom. Don’t discount the hula hoop, either. Hula hooping can provide similar results to other aerobic activities, according to the Mayo Clinic. Aim for at least ten minutes at a time.
- Do a class online.
If your children are still little, try working in your fitness during their nap time. For older children, your workout can be their quiet time to read, play a game, color, or listen to a kid-friendly podcast like Paws and Tales from Chuck Swindoll.
Many online fitness subscriptions offer free trials for new members. The popular Tone It Up app has on-demand workouts with personal trainers for a small monthly fee, and as always, there are free workout videos on their website and YouTube channel. The trainers share everything from HIIT to prenatal and postnatal workouts. Peloton offers a free three-month trial, and you don’t need a Peloton bike or treadmill to do the workouts. Hop online for a live class where you’ll watch an instructor in studio or choose from one of hundreds of classes that have been pre-recorded, with options as short as five minutes.
- Go outside.
Take a family hike on your local trail. A hike will provide more exercise for you and give your children more nature to interact with than a typical neighborhood walk. Choose a paved trail if you want to use your stroller or opt for a more strenuous one if you need a challenge and have extra help with the kids.
Another idea: Head to a nearby baseball field. Play catch, run the bases, and hit a few baseballs. You’ll be surprised how much activity you’ll get in simply by running around the ball diamond. In addition, many tennis courts are open and completely free, and they’re a blast for the whole family. You can order tennis rackets online for under $20 if you don’t already have them.
- Swap duties with your husband for thirty minutes.
If you can, have your husband watch the kids for a half hour while you enjoy your workout of choice—or a nap (equally important). Every minute counts. Don’t stress about making this super sweaty or high-intensity because it’s your only time to exercise. Just make it fun! Go for a jog, take a walk, practice yoga, lift weights. Do what feels life-giving to you.
- Bonus: Follow encouraging social media accounts.
Okay, so this tip isn’t technically exercise advice, but it is good motivation for those workouts. These Instagram profiles will encourage and edify you both in your fitness routine and in your faith. Check them out:
- Brighton Keller – Fashion blogger Brighton shares her style tips, favorite at-home workouts, and even Bible devotionals on her Instagram and website.
- Imma Eat That – Kylie Mitchell is a registered dietitian/nutritionist, as well as a mom of two toddlers. You’ll love her focus on intuitive eating, incorporating exercise in a mindful way, and remembering to keep Jesus front and center when it comes to body image.
- Revive Our Hearts – We couldn’t forget this one. Follow Revive Our Hearts and experience greater freedom in Christ. And remember: your circumstances are not a surprise to God. He has a plan, and He is at work.
And remember: “while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:8).