Finding Time to Exercise

I’m a single mom and business owner, so except for about 4 days every month (the two weekends my daughter is with her dad), I’m responsible for the welfare of a bunch of other people. That has made it difficult to find time to exercise, especially if I want to do something that doesn’t include my daughter.

My fit friends always me to “just go to the gym!” I usually respond with, “When?!” Most days I follow a pretty set schedule:

  • wake up at about 7am
  • get the kid up and ready for the day
  • take her to school/camp/wherever she’s going
  • go to work
  • pick the kid up from wherever she spent the day
  • take the kid to her extracurricular activities and/or playdates 
  • go home and have dinner, unless we already ate it before the extracurricular activities
  • help the kid with her homework
  • get the kid ready for bed
  • sometimes work some more
  • pass out between midnight and 1am

I physically cannot get myself out of bed earlier than 7am on a regular basis. I’ve tried, trust me. I’ve also tried going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier, but that usually works for a few days before I hit a wall of exhaustion. Plus even if I did get up earlier, I can’t just leave the house to run/walk or go to the gym because… that’s right, I can’t leave the 7-year old home alone. And she’s not in any kind of mood to go for a run at 7am.

What about later, after the kid has gone to bed, you ask? I’ve tried that, too, but typically exercising after about 8pm tends to make me too wired to go to bed.

So what’s a working mom to do? Well, as the owner of the company, I decided the best solution was to add some great employee wellness benefits for the entire company, so my employees can join me on my quest to get healthier if they so desire. Those include:

  • Lunchtime yoga twice a week
  • A small “gym” with a treadmill and elliptical trainer in the office
  • Entry fees paid for local 5k events, such as The Color Run. This wasn’t limited to just employees; we paid for employees families, too!

I’m pretty good about always doing the yoga, but I need to get better about using the in-office gym. I did about half of a Couch-to-5k program, and ran on the treadmill 3 times each week, but had to stop due to a back injury. Now that I’m out of the swing of things with that, it’s been hard to get started again. I keep saying I’m going to use the elliptical trainer, but then a client emergency happens, and I never get around to it.

Another possibility I’m exploring is getting into regular exercise activities that can include my daughter, to replace some of her extracurricular activities. Last night we attended a trial training session at a relatively new martial arts studio in our area. The kid used to do judo, and has a yellow belt, but we decided that full-contact judo wasn’t going to work for either of us; she’s tiny, and I have back and shoulder problems that would be exacerbated from throwing and being thrown. The class we attended last night was no contact, and it was a great workout for the entire body, so it’s promising!

We’ve already walked two 5k fun runs/walks (The Color Run and Run or Dye), and we’re planning at least two more (Drenched and The Electric Run). She seems to enjoy these, so I might be able to work some walking “training” into our routine.

So in summary, time for exercise is hard to come by, but I’m working on making it happen!

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