How I find time to get active by @tashagizmo

Wellbeing | | Natasha Whittingham

I have always liked to stay active and as healthy as possible, but it’s not as easy when you have children demanding your time and attention. Usually it feels like there is always something more important to be doing than taking time out for yourself or to exercise. As a mother of two, breast feeding and then going back to work full time, I found the days running away from me.

I could feel my health, body and weight suffering, so I decided to start making some changes. Not only did I want to feel better about myself and feel less tired, I also wanted to be a role model for my children.

For me, being active isn’t just about weight control, fitness or going to the gym. It’s about health and happiness.

The benefits of being active

There are so many benefits to being active, like lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes and other chronic health conditions. It can boost self-esteem, help with quality of sleep and energy levels and also help improve mental health conditions, such as anxiety, stress, depression and more. Activities with your family and children can also help you bond, improve relationships and better their self-esteem and confidence.

Slow & steady

There are lots of exercises you can do postpartum. If you exercised before pregnancy and you had a natural birth, you should be able to return to your usual routine. Just remember it took nine months for your body to change and go through labour, so it’s going to be a slow process to return your muscles and ligaments to their prenatal condition, so take it slow and steady.

If you are thinking of partaking in vigorous exercise, it’s best to check with your doctor or health professional that it is safe for you to do so.

Activities with children

I have found the best way to get active is to work around the children. Sometimes we exercise in or around the home together, other times I squeeze a workout in before the children wake or after bedtime. I try to make a schedule of where or when I can fit in these activities and make it a part of our routine.

For example, nap time for my youngest means play time for my older son in his bedroom. Sometimes he does the exercises with me or just plays with his toys. When my son is at school, I set up my little girl with some toys and do my exercise routine whilst she plays. I always keep the exercises short so I can fit them in around the children.

Group activities

Find group activities in your area such as baby gyms or baby yoga. Now that soft plays are back open, you can get involved too. Swimming is another favourite for our family. We like to go on days out where we can walk around or run and play games on the beach.

During lockdown, we started a daily walk routine to keep us busy and get out of the house; we have continued this as we enjoy our ‘talk time’. I even got myself a step counter and aimed for a certain amount of steps a day to keep me motivated, which I have increased over time. Even household chores counts for steps!

In summary, my main tips for being active and staying active are:

  • It doesn’t have to be ‘hardcore exercise’ if that’s not for you.
  • Choose activities that are suitable for the whole family.
  • Get involved in what the kids choose to do (throw a ball, bike rides, soft play, etc.)
  • Move as much as you can (even if it’s just around the home)
  • And most of all – have fun!