Updated: Feb 1
- How to stay physically active as a working parent with a busy job
Are you a working parent who's too busy to work out?
If you're a working parent, you know how challenging it is to fit exercise into your day. Some days are so busy it can be hard to squeeze in a toilet break, never mind a workout. So, how do you stay physically active, do your job and parent? Is there a way to "have it all," i.e., lose that belly fat; tone up your abs, butts, arms and thighs; have more energy and connect with your kids? You can "have it all", but you need to work in your workout. Thankfully between the business of parenting and a busy job, there are 5 Best Ways to Get Fit Before 5:00 PM Every Day.
Three good reasons to workout before 5:00 PM
There are three good reasons to fit in your recommended daily dose of physical activity before 5:00 PM every day.
Willpower is like a wave that rises and falls throughout the day. Willpower is your ability to control yourself and resist short-term rewards for long-term benefits. So if you're planning to work out after dinner or the kids have gone to bed, you're more likely not to work out because you haven't left much time to catch the wave of willpower on the rise. You'll know when you're riding the low tide of willpower because you'll feel like sitting or lying down and start coming up with all sorts of reasons for not exercising.
Decision fatigue sets in. If you think thinking isn't tiring, you'd better think again. Some psychologists believe that the more decisions we make throughout the day, the more difficult it becomes to make good decisions. This is known as decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is linked to willpower and makes it harder to think clearly or stay mentally focused. That's why you're more likely to make poor decisions like putting off the "pain" of exercising and instead sitting down to indulge in the immediate "guilty pleasure" of a piece of chocolate, a bowl of ice cream or a glassful of alcoholic drink.
Timing of exercise can be crucial. Exercise generally improves sleep quality, but working out late can disrupt your sleep, especially if you already have insomnia or poor sleep. If you work out too late, you may end up wide awake instead of winding down before bedtime. One suggested tip for avoiding disturbed sleep is not exercising 90 minutes before bedtime. However, for parents, this tips them into another problem. Although exercising early in the evening may save your sleep, it often means sacrificing precious time with your children in the evenings.
The solution to the busy parent problem is to exercise between 5:00 AM & 5:00 PM every single day.
5 best ways to get fit before 5:00 PM every day
1) 5:00 AM: Get Fit Before Your Family Gets Up.
Work out early before everyone gets up. The advantage to exercising early in the morning is that you'll have fewer distractions and interruptions steering you away from your health and fitness goals. You can get your recommended daily dose of physical activity over and done with before your family gets up. High-five you!
2) 10:00 AM: Get Fit Mid-Morning.
Step out of the office and take a quick walk during your mid-morning coffee or tea break. There are fewer people out and about. You'll also mentally refresh, feel revived in the fresh air, and get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun before it gets too hot.
3) 1:00 PM: Get Fit at Lunchtime.
Getting active in the afternoon is ideal, especially if you're not a morning person. By now, you'll have woken up. You can either head to the gym, go for a brisk walk or swim, and then have lunch afterwards. Bonus - if you haven't packed lunch, you'll be inspired to buy healthier meal options because you will feel like a healthier person.
4) 3:00 PM: Get Fit Mid-Afternoon.
If you want to avoid the lunchtime rush hour and the post-lunch energy slump, work through lunch and then either:
Workout at around 2:00 or 3:00 PM when the gym crowds have dispersed.
Leave work earlier if you're picking up your kids from school, park outside the school and do my favourite - the school pick-up PICK-ME-UP-Run. Alternatively, you could do a brisk 30-minute walk, roll (roll if you have a wheelchair) or swim. The great thing about the School PICK-ME-UP-Run or equivalent is the timing. It's a chance to mentally disconnect from work and boost your mood and energy levels, so you're more cheerful and relaxed thanks to endorphins -the happy hormones. So, suppose your kids have had a bad day. In that case, you'll be physically refreshed, mentally re-energised and emotionally ready to be present and attend to their needs. You'll be in the perfect state to listen to them as they share their day's good and bad parts. You'll be in a resourceful state to share your positive energy and think clearly.
5) 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM: Get To Fit It All In.
Workout or walk outdoors with your kids after you pick them up from school or daycare. Exercising together allows you and your children to transition from work- or school mode into a more relaxed frame of mind. Being physically active together will enable you to connect in nature away from the distraction of electronic gadgets. A 30-minute walk after school is an excellent way for you and your children to unwind.
So there you have it! As a busy working parent, the 5 Best Ways to Get Fit Before 5:00 PM Every Day are:
Get Fit Before Your Family Gets Up.
Get Fit Mid-Morning.
Get Fit at Lunchtime.
Get Fit Mid-Afternoon.
Get To Fit It All In.
At last, you can "have it all" - lose that belly fat; tone up your abs, butts, arms and thighs; have more energy and connect with your kids. Start using these 5 tips, and you'll make your work-life balance as a parent healthy, happy and successful.
Leave a comment below - tell me which of these 5 Best Ways to Get Fit Before 5:00 PM will you fit into your busy day?