me with a beetroot face after a spin class
I am an older Mum. One of those women newspaper and magazine articles shriek dire warnings at for waiting too long to have children, all of awful things that can happen during pregnancy and to your baby from leaving it so late. If you can in fact bear children at that age. My own mother said that I would be termed geriatric once upon a time.
As a single 35 year old those stories seemed to be everywhere and make me worry.
I married at 36, had Ruby at 37 and just managed to squeak Bekele (sounds like Bikini if you’re wondering) out before turning 40. Ruby’s birth was difficult and took a loooong time to recover from. Bekele popped out without any drugs and the recovery was minimal thankfully.
What I was not prepared for was how exhausted I would be with babies… and this is something a younger woman can deal with so much more easily. You bounce back from lack of sleep when you’re younger. Not so at 40.
Now my babies are 7 and 9. I chose to develop and grow an online business so that I can be a stay at home mum – of sorts. I wake up at 5am and do a blog post or some social media before they get up, after school drop off I talk to my team, make phone calls, do product training, read some personal development, host live webinars, sponsor and develop new distributors…basically do as much as I can before the school bell rings at 3pm, and once they’re in bed I’ll do a wee bit more.
It is VERY easy to let the fitness slide when you’re a busy working Mum. ‘Tis true that we put everyone else first. The gym membership can lie idle for months, the walking / running shoes sit unused in the wardrobe and the exercise machine tucked safely away out of sight gathering dust under the bed!
When unfit I feel a LOT more tired, my mood is lower and the diet can slip to convenience foods… I’m not as organised and I feel uncomfortably flabby with uncomfortably tight waistbands. Basically being unfit sucks – and affects all areas of life. And I think that over 40 you notice it more.
Paul and I were out to celebrate a decade of marriage a few weeks ago. Our anniversary is the time when we discuss the year ahead and what we want to achieve and do. One of my things was to get fitter. I realised that if I took four hours out of my working week I could go to a spin class at the gym and that would help take care of the fitness. A good friend Justine said that she has been going to spin and loves it so I thought I’d try it. I started going here and there only once or twice a week – but in the last four weeks four times a week.
The difference is HUGE. Lets face it, spin is always going to be brutal no matter how fit you are. It doesn’t get any easier but the benefits of feeling fitter are profound. My head is clearer, I feel lighter have SO MUCH more energy, clothes fit and generally feel a lot more chirpy.
If you’re feeling unfit but don’t know how to find the time or motivation to get more exercise into your life some of these ideas below might help.
1. Do it first thing if you can. Work out before the day gets away from you. Then it’s done and dusted and you will feel a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!
2. Block it out in your calendar so that it’s part of your schedule and you know at the start of the week when your exercise times are going to be.
3. Find a Mum to buddy up with. If you have someone to go with its easier to stick with it – and also if you need childcare to exercise (like I do) helping another Mum by taking her kids while she exercises means that she can do the same for you.
4. Run or exercise in your lunch break at work. Take your gym gear and pound the pavements or a do a class while everyone else is eating at their desk. I’ll bet your productivity goes up that afternoon.
5. Include your kids. Incorporate your children into your exercise routine. At home when they’re little try a babies yoga class like this one or pilates class like this one When they’re at the park use their playground as a gym to do pull ups, sit ups and monkey bars. When they’re older go for bike rides and run together. They will absolutely love it.
6. While they’re at after school activities instead of sitting on social media, put your phone down and take the time to go for a walk or a jog.
7. Walk to school. If you live within a kilometre / mile of school get the kids out the door early and walk them to school. That’s 4km / miles per day if you do morning and afternoon. We do this on fine days and as we live on a decent hill it’s a mini workout getting them to and from school each day.
8. Be easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few days here and there. Things happen and as busy Mums we have to roll with it when someone is sick or there is unexpected disruption to the day.
I would love to hear what exercise strategies work for you!
Love Ali x