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Finding Motivation to Exercise as a Mum

Health and Fitness Motivation for Mums

Being a mum is hard enough as the best of times and then add in finding the motivation to do something for ourselves that requires additional energy can make it harder!  Now as we come into winter, it can feel easier just to snuggle and not do the things that we know will help boost our mood and feel better!  We all know the benefits of having good health strategies and fitness but as we adjust to life with a baby, it is often one of the first things that drop off our priorities!  These are my favourite motivation strategies to start and stay engaged with my health and fitness.

Find something that you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like exercise

This is why I love Kangatraining so much!  Yes I get the ‘good burn’ but I don’t feel like it is exercise as it is fun and has an amazing social aspect!  As Emily could come with me, it was always achievable for us to do and we have continued doing kangatraining three times per week for the past 3.5 years!  Honestly it is the longest that I have participated in exercise consistently in my life!

Exercise with someone

Meeting another mum for a walk or a class helps with motivation as you get the social and fun part and we all know how much effort goes into organising so we feel more inclined to go!  Being a mum can be isolating so this also helps with that as well plus our babies get to socialise together as well.

Do something that involves your baby

Going for a walk or a mums and bubs class are great options as you don’t have to leave your baby or find a sitter as they can come with you.  Often they enjoy it as well as they get to spend time with you and meet other babies.  As they get older, they also get to see you engaging with positive healthy living strategies which helps normalise it for them and makes it part of their life!   Emily was doing kanga moves from about 18 months and we still do the dances together outside of class in our kitchen.

Go Outside

Even going for a walk or sitting outside can kick start your energy so that you will feel more motivated to do something.  There is always something revitalising about being outside and in the sun especially on those winter days.  Often once I am outside, going for a walk or doing something physical seems like a great idea!  Plus baby’s love the outdoors as well so it can particularly helpful on those grumpy, unsettled days for your bub.

Plan

Sometimes the days can just roll into weeks and then months so I found planning a couple of physical activities a week helped.   Monday would be my walk to the park day with Emily, Kanga on Wednesday and meet a friend for another walk on Friday.  It doesn’t have to be anything intense but creating habits make motivation so much easier to find and continue!

Motivation for Your Brain/Thinking

Our brains are amazing things and they place a huge role in motivation!  Often convincing your brain to do something is the hardest step and it can be useful to have strategies for this purpose!   Our drive or motivation comes from our brain comparing the pros and the cons of any activity.  This is where goal setting and having a list of benefits (and even consequences of not engaging with activity) is particularly useful.  When motivation is low, you can remind yourself WHY and help the pro side to convince yourself.

When I was feeling flat or tired, reminding myself of the energy boost that would come afterwards was always helpful.  Or I would almost negotiate with myself – just do 5 minutes and if you are tired you can stop.  This would help me to get started and once started, I very rarely would stop.

Dress for success

Wearing something that allows for movement is great as if the inclination hits me, this is no longer a reason why I can’t do something.  For me as well, if I was already dressed in exercise clothes (which are far more comfortable anyway), than that was half the mental battle!

Reward yourself when you do exercise

If you know me, then you know how much coffee is life!  Having a coffee as a reward for before/after I exercised was a useful motivation technique but it could be anything from a fun activity, funky exercise clothes or just a mental congratulations!

Listen to your body and Accept those days that it is too hard

Knowing the difference between listening to your body and taking it easy vs pushing through to get the benefits of exercise can be really useful.  I know that when Emily had a rough night it was much harder to do something physical yet well worth it!  However if you are on night 5 of no sleep, it might be more beneficial to just take it easy and have a pyjama day with your baby.  When motivation is gone, don’t beat yourself up – just accept that this is where you are at TODAY however tomorrow is a new day!

At the end of the day, you are all super mums!  Parenting is not an easy gig so if you can get some movement in regularly you are doing great!

Kylie Lau
Certified Babywearing Consultant
Kangatraining Instructor