As a parent myself, I have become all too familiar with the ongoing challenge of 'finding time to exercise'.
Thankfully, given the nature of my job, I can usually find time to fit in a quick workout in-between clients. Granted in some instances it may be shorter than others, but in terms of the general exercise box, I can ensure it is well and truly ticked each week.
As someone who is involved in health and fitness, I fully embrace the role model position that it provides and as a Personal Trainer, I take pride in my personal fitness, which I feel fosters good health. I feel it is paramount to set an example for others to follow.
That said, I have a number of friends who have also become parents in the past year and I know how frustrating, difficult and in some cases impossible it is to set aside time to exercise.
From the minute you become a parent, your needs change. That is a given. Priorities shift from yourself to that of your children. Sleep-deprivation is a major player in the early days of parenthood, then there is teething, potential illness and the aftermath of those jabs. The list could go on.
For people who had a strong commitment to exercise before having children, this dilemma comes as a major shock to the system and one that can cause stress within the relationship, when there is not time of flexibility to exercise.
I cannot stress how important completing your own physical activity is for your mental health and physical wellbeing. I have witnessed a number of people struggle and for me, I feel it is actually more detrimental to a person's mental wellbeing, than physical, providing their diet is on point.
If you want exercise to still feature highly on your own personal agenda, here are my top tips for new parents to help them maintain and reap the benefits of regular exercise:-
(1) Take Advantage of Nap Time.
These times are often filled with clearing up, packing the changing bag, getting showered and preparing for the day ahead. But at the same time, they are a golden opportunity to complete a home workout whilst your little one sleeps.
(2) Invest In Home Gym Equipment.
Without breaking the back, purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells, a suspension trainer, skipping rope, medicine ball or a pull up bar will provide you with amble options to get creative with a home inspired bodyweight calisthenics workout.
(3) Embrace A Workout Buddy.
Exercising with a friend helps with motivation and accountability. You are more likely to stick to agreed workout times when you are with others.
(4) Utilise Gyms With Creche Facilities.
Many gyms offer packages that include pay-as-you-go options. Your child is safely looked after, whilst you get an hour or two to complete your workout with peace of mind.
(5) Utilise Your Lunch Hour.
Join a gym near the work office and exercise over lunch, or use your lunchtime as an opportunity to go for a walk or run. Something as little as 20 minutes can leave you feeling re-energised and ready to attack the rest of the day.