Women Today

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Fitness tips for busy moms

Working mothers have a lot on their plates. In addition to the responsibilities that come with raising a family, working moms also must focus on their careers.

Many mothers find that managing such hectic balancing acts leaves little time for physical fitness. But there are ways for working moms to stay physically fit even as they juggle their commitments to career and family.

• Work out in the early morning. Working out in the early morning, when the kids are still asleep and the office has yet to open, is a great way for busy working mothers to get their daily exercise. Designate a room in your home where you can spend time each morning doing some light strength training before hitting the treadmill or elliptical machine. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, and women who get up just 45 minutes earlier each morning can meet those requirements and then some. An added benefit to working out in the early morning is that many people who follow such regimens insist they have more energy throughout the rest of the day.

• Exercise with the kids. Working mothers looking to find time for exercise can turn part of family time into a time to exercise with their children. Play in the yard with youngsters while dinner is cooking or go for nightly post-meal walks. Exercising with kids is a great way for mothers to get their daily exercise while also instilling a love of physical activity in their children.

• Have a backup plan on hand. Working out at a gym can be motivational, as many mothers want to make sure their monthly membership fees aren't going to waste. But there will inevitably be days when working mothers can't get to the gym. Prepare for such days by purchasing home workout DVDs you can play while the kids are doing their homework or after they have gone to bed.

• Look for gyms with childcare. Many gyms now offer on-site childcare to parents of young children who can't stay home alone while their folks are at the gym. Gyms that offer on-site childcare may prove more reliable and even less expensive than hiring a sitter, and some gyms even offer fitness programs to youngsters, helping to ensure kids get the daily exercise they need as well.

• Exercise during lunch breaks. If possible, squeeze in your daily exercise during lunch breaks. Take advantage of on-site exercise facilities if your company offers them. If not, take your lunch outside and then go for a walk around the campus or a nearby park rather than eating at your desk.

Finding time to exercise is a common dilemma for working mothers. But there are some creative ways for moms to stay fit without affecting their commitments to work and family.