Three workout tips that need to go away and two to implement starting today:
When I was a brand-new mom, it seemed I heard more unsolicited advice than during any other time in my life.
Although most of it was well-intended, a lot of -- particularly new-mom exercise -- advice I've been offered is pure, saccharine crap.
We've all heard them -- those suggestions that truly have no substance, and nothing tangible that we can actually implement as helpful tools within our changing lives, as parents with little kids.
While sharing guidance and strategies that have experientially worked for us is helpful, idealistic, not-genuinely practical advice just adds to our feelings of mother-guilt -- that somehow we've failed, and it (falsely) seems like everyone else is performing this all-important role of mommy with much more ease and effectiveness.
It's tips like these that need to go away:
1. Chasing our kids is exercise.
No. No, it's not.
I absolutely fall into the category of "exhausted mother with two kids under the age of five," and this is exactly why I do exercise -- so that I can keep up with them.
2. Use random household things for weights.
"Grab a soup can!" No. Wrong. Invest a few dollars and purchase actual dumbbells. Women need to stop pretending that we can and should only lift a few pounds.
(Do we really need to continually dispel this myth that women shouldn't lift heavy weights? If so, it's been done.)
3. On mommy-and-me classes.
Now, mommy-and-me classes are awesome for connecting with our children -- I'm not arguing that.
Additionally, studios and gyms that offer childcare are great ways for parents to get out of the house and have a real workout.
This all said, working out at home is the easiest, most practical solution--especially for those with babies and younger kids. There's never an excuse to miss an in-the-living-room workout, and my daughters have fun breaking out their own little yoga mats and trying to do some exercises along with me.
And two constructive pieces of advice:
1. Toss out time limits.
Some exercise is always better than none.
Rather than getting overwhelmed with creating an entire hour or more to workout, just grab those dumbbells, a yoga mat, find a podcast on YouTube, and go! (If you're anything like I am, you'll find that moving past that initial hurdle of inertia turns into 20, 30 or more minutes quickly.)
2. Just move!
It's good to switch up our workouts, and it's also good to discover what we like. I truly believe that everyone loves some form of exercise -- we only need to figure out what that is!
Personally, I'm continually trying new forms of exercise. For one, it reminds me why I love what I normally do, like Yoga, Pilates and weight lifting. For another, sometimes we have a talent for, or are excited by, something that we never would have suspected (like how I recently I discovered my adoration for HIIT cardio).
Whatever you do, mama, don't give up--our kids are looking at us for real-life examples of how to treat our bodies. Carving time out for ourselves can feel selfish, but it's not -- it's that old "put on your air mask first."
Do you have a suggestion for parents trying to take care of their bodies, with tiny people running around? Share in the comments section below!