How I finally incorporated exercise into my daily routine

Somi Igbene PhD ANutrFebruary 14, 2019

I share my tips on how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine even if you’re working mother.

After a day of talking to clients, doing the dishes, laundry, getting the kids to school {on time}, fixing multiple meals, getting through bath time, etc. Where on earth is the time to think about yourself much more exercise?

Working mamas, I get it! It is not easy to hold a job or run a business, look after your family and fit in time for yourself. The unfortunate thing is that we tend to put ourselves last every time, and while this may be necessary for certain situations, it shouldn’t be the gold standard. If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we be our best for our family?

Beyond losing excess weight, exercise has been fantastic for my mental health. I honestly believe that it is the main reason why I have been able to make working out routine. The mental health benefits didn’t become apparent immediately. I only noticed after around six months of regular exercise that if I go more than a few days without exercising, I feel lethargic, my circulation is poor, I have constant mood swings, and I feel uninspired to do anything.

But, how did I get to the point where the benefits of exercising were strong enough to keep me going?

Step 1: Make a Commitment

Decide how many days in a week and for how long you can commit to exercising.

I started by committing to exercise for at least 30 minutes, four days a week. It didn’t matter what type of exercise I did. The most important thing to me at the start was that I did something that got my heart rate up for at least 30 minutes on the days I had scheduled exercise.

Step 2: Develop a schedule

When are you going to exercise? Will you do it in the morning or the evening? Set an exact time or narrow time frame when you will start exercising and when you will finish. Try to stick to that time as frequently as possible. I understand life gets in the way sometimes, but the more firm you are about it, the easier it will be to make it a habit.

I am most likely to get in a workout if I do it first thing in the morning. I get that endorphin high that wakes me up and has me feeling fantastic for achieving something first in the morning. I have tried working out in the evening in the past, but I’m usually exhausted after a long day of work and chores, and I always have a long list of reasons why working out is a bad idea, so I end up skipping it. No Bueno!

I set my alarm for 6.15am on weekdays. I tidy my bed quickly, clean my teeth then change into my workout clothes and start the workout programme I have scheduled at 6.30am prompt. My workouts are usually no longer than 40mins, so I finish before the kids get up at 7.15am, and I can attend to them.

Step 3: Create a workout plan

Will you work with a trainer at a gym or will you workout out at home? 

I am not a fitness expert so I don’t have the first clue about creating work out programmes. Of course, if you’re just starting, there is nothing wrong with going out for a long walk or run. I hate running, but I enjoy walking for rejuvenation rather than for a heart-pumping activity.

Since I am not able to get to a gym, I workout at home with online fitness or DVD programmes. This is the most convenient and frankly the best method for me. I can turn on my laptop or DVD player at any time of the day; I don’t have to worry about losing time getting to the gym or worrying about childcare. The icing on the cake is that the workout programmes are already structured, so I know the exact exercises I’ll be doing each day.

Step 4: Be consistent

Consistency is key

They say it takes  21 66 days to form a habit. The first week will be the toughest, but it does get easier over time. I committed to keep going no matter what in August 2017. The moment I started feeling better and seeing changes in my body, I got hooked. Of course, there were days when my body was just too tired or too sick to exercise. Once I felt better (usually after a day or two, not weeks or months), I got back on my schedule immediately.

Step 5: Track your progress

Invest in a journal or set up an Instagram account

One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated is to track your progress. Daily changes happen that you may be unaware of unless you keep track of them, whether that is mental clarity, glowing skin, feeling lighter or your clothes fitting better. My Instagram account and my journal have been excellent tools for me. I can look back to see how far I’ve come and I’m also able to look at the things that make me feel my best or worst.

Step 6: Just do it!

Start now

There’s no need to wait for a Monday or the first day of a new month or year, just start! The longer you procrastinate, the longer it takes to reach your goals. So girl, wash your face {thank you Rachel Hollis} and do it!

These tips may be fundamental, but honestly, fitness should be straightforward. If you consistently do the simple things, you’ll get significant results over time. There is no point in making fitness overly complicated, being able to stick with it for a few weeks at a time and then giving up for months on end.

My motto: Keep it simple and consistent

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