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to wonder how you fit in exercise when you work full time and have children?

(118 Posts)
CurtainsForNow Tue 05-Feb-13 21:00:15

I've recently started a full time job (used to work part time) and realised that time would be tighter but didn't realise how much. I used to exercise regularly - now (other than a run or maybe 2 at the weekend), I can't work out how on earth I'm meant to fit it in.

I'm up at 7 (not a morning person, tried to get up to exercise before work and found it too hard). Get myself and DC ready. Go to work (via school). Work. Get home. Cook tea. Clear up. Supervise/assist with homework, music practice etc. Ferry DC to clubs. Sort washing. Sort shopping. Answer school letters. Read bedtime stories. Don't generally sit down till about 8.30 when I'm shattered. (DH helps with all the above by the way).

I do cycle to work, but it's only 2 miles. And have a quick walk at lunch time (only get half an hour so can't do much). But that doesn't seem like much.

How on earth do other people do it?

Curtains Do you have a TV? Why not swap 2 programmes a week for an exercise DVD.

And consider standing up / moving around while doing spellings / tables.

How about adding more activity to the Brownie meeting?

Or doing active stuff with your friends?

motherinferior Wed 06-Feb-13 21:25:54

Hmm...I don't make a tidy or madly clean house a priority at all, ditto time with my partner. (I do prioritise time with my friends, as otherwise I'd never see them. My partner, should I wish to converse with him, is frequently close to hand.) I do want, and need, a bit of time to exercise because I am really quite middle aged, and I am a health journalist and therefore very well aware that if I stay immobile I am much more likely to drop dead before I have finished reading all the books I want to read, or seeing my lovely girls grow up.

NumericalMum Wed 06-Feb-13 20:54:58

OneLieIn why do you work 12 hour days? Could you exercise as part of your commute? I assume you have no children if you are out the house by 7 and not home til 10 so you could easily squeeze in a run at lunch or a couple of runs at the weekend.

I have 45 minute commute, a stressful job which i have to be super organised to get done in 8 hour days, manage to fit in exercise at least 3 times a week, plus spend time with my daughter and plenty of time for MN, chilling on the sofa, cooking food etc. It is just about priorities. I would guess that you would be more efficient at work if you took an hour out at lunch 3 times a week to go for a run!

Arisbottle Wed 06-Feb-13 20:34:02

I also find the fitter I am the less sleep I need, during the week I never have more than five hours sleep. A, usually working until around midnight. I suspect I store up my sleep, I sleep much more in the holidays .

Mumsyblouse Wed 06-Feb-13 13:41:55

I don't do anything, bar a brisk walk from place to place at work. I don't feel guilty any more though. I accept I'm a bit porky as a result. But I am up at 6.30am, I am exhausted in the evenings, and don't feel like exercising at weekends in the very brief time between running kids to activities and having a nap!

I have accepted that a) I don't have more energy when I exercise, I did run for a while and getting up and running at 6am made me feel physically sick as well as rushing the mornings and b) I prioritise other things, namely getting enough rest on the weekend so I can cope with the long days and commuting in the week.

Not ideal, but I have a full-on job and no spare energy, in fact I go to bed a couple of nights at 8-9pm just to get through.

It's a phase, and I look forward to cutting down my hours and upping the exercise, but I'm not going to beat myself up about not doing it at this time point.

Arcticwaffle Wed 06-Feb-13 13:39:36

On having the wrong sort of bottom for cycling. Have you tried saddles designed for women? Most are designed for men. Also gel saddles are good.

neriberi Wed 06-Feb-13 13:34:03

I commute to work in London 5 days a week, I make sure I walk at the other end avoiding the tube and buses, I do a fast 20 minute stroll through Hyde Park twice a day and then there's the running up and down steps to catch a train!.

In the evening I do a bit of Pilates in front of the TV and I take a couple of hours out of my Saturday morning to do British Military Fitness followed by the food shopping and a round of house work when I get home.

I don't have the time or the inclination to go to the gym so I try and fit exercise in around me, considering I used to be a right old gym bunny I'm actually the fittest and healthiest I've been for years and I haven't been anywhere near a gym since my DS was born.

Further to my post above, we are currently hiring a rowing machine.
It costs £40 a month, which is far less than a gym membership for us both. You only need to do 15 minutes a day to really make a difference. Its great for cardio, strength and core strength. Its a pretty complete workout.

girlsofsummer Wed 06-Feb-13 12:50:22

If I was going to bed as early as you (you say you are all finished by 830) then I would say you have time in evening or early in morning depending what you prefer. Early morning probably. That is a lot of sleep from 9pm – 6am for example to me that sounds quite amazing.

I really do feel that I don’t have anytime to exercise my day is like yours but I generally have more to do when kids are in bed. So i get exercise going to from school, work etc poor substitute but at least its something. I have started doing yoga once a week at lunchtime but that is only because it is on-site.

I think its wrong to assume that working FT with kids you will have “me time”. Its an impossibility. I would never exercise on the weekend by myself that’s time with the family and I would feel guilty – i know that’s my own choice though.

MinnesotaNice Wed 06-Feb-13 12:39:20

Up at 5:30 at least 3 times a week to be at the gym when it opens at 6. That way I can fit in a quick run and be home in time for DH to leave for work. I could go in the evenings, but I like time w/DH after the DC go to bed. Not to mention the fact that gym memberships are freakin expensive here (compared to my gym membership in the US) and if I go in the morning it's cheaper.

Hobbitation Wed 06-Feb-13 12:28:40

I tried cycling to work but it nearly killed me. Left me tired and sore all day. I think unless it's a short, flat distance you need to have a long build up to it. And I was fit, just not used to cycling. Plus for me it took so much time to cycle there it took a lot of rearranging things. I got so sore from it, it would take me a week to recover, so I could never do it frequently enough to improve.

I just think I have the wrong sort of bottom for cycling. Even after 10 minutes on the exercise bike in the gym my bum is simultaneously numb and sore.

CurtainsForNow Wed 06-Feb-13 12:22:42

Hmm, some good points in here – thank you. It’s encouraging to hear that others have the same issues!

A few people made the point that it’s down to priorities which I guess is the case.
I think I (and DH) prioritise work (doing a good job) and family (both spending time together and ensuring that DC do their homework/have chance to do activities etc) above all else. The DC seem to be the worst age for this at the moment as they do need a lot of adult input into homework (schools require daily reading, also need to test tables and spellings and other homework needs adult support), they both learn instruments and do quite a few clubs between them. They have clubs three evenings a week. One of these is Brownies and I am the Brownie leader so also out. One of the evenings of no DC clubs, DH is out for an hour or so at “his” activity. Plus one or other of us might go out with friends, or there is a meeting at school or the DC have an extra evening activity at school.
Next on the list is doing the minimum amount of housework/organising to keep the house/family running smoothly. Then comes sleep so I’m not a walking zombie!

Unfortunately those things seem to mean that exercising is way down the list. Reading back what I’ve written I do realise that’s because I’ve chosen it to be so. I could (e.g.) go out for a run when the rest of the family are eating, and have my tea later – but eating tea as a family is important to us, so I don’t. I could leave DH in charge and go out and exercise, but that just means that all the jobs I would have done are still there when I get back and I’d have even less time with the DC.

Running to work is a good idea but ... 2 days a week I cycle DS and 2 other children to school so can’t do it then. The other days I drop DD at breakfast club just after it starts (so can’t go earlier). I could then run to work, but that would mean me being late. Work (I think) would be ok about me starting a bit later and finishing a bit later but if I’m going to start finishing later (I deliberately negotiated my hours so I could finish earlier) it would probably make more sense to have a longer lunch break instead and go for a run then … hmm doing that 1 day a week and really prioritising exercise at weekends sounds like it could be the way to go – we did start doing family cycle rides and swimming sessions but have fallen out of the habit – something to resurrect I think. Or actually maybe I could cycle “the long way” home once a week now the evenings are getting lighter.

I knew someone would say getting up earlier! I’ve tried this on many occasions, but just can’t do the running in a doze thing that someone mentioned. OK, maybe I am just lazy smile

Arcticwaffle Wed 06-Feb-13 11:58:40

I have free time but not the energy quite often too, that's why I'm such a fan of cycling or working as commute, it's hard to just not bother going to work, I find (though I was sorely tempted today).

Hobbitation Wed 06-Feb-13 11:52:31

When I was working full time, it wasn't lack of time that would prevent me from exercising but lack of energy as I became very stressed.

It was hard to find a happy medium between exercising too much and making myself ill because my body was weakened by stress, and not exercising at all which would add to the stress.

maisiejoe123 Wed 06-Feb-13 11:43:17

You dont have the time! I have a friend who goes 3-4 times a week (SAHM) and she smugly informs me that she goes after the school run and then her time is her own - no your time is your own AFTER the school run. You choose to go to the gym because you have SO much free time.....

Hobbitation Wed 06-Feb-13 11:39:13

Early morning, evenings, and Saturday morning. I used to go running with a group on Saturday am & Weds evening, then get out Monday lunchtime at work.

atthewelles Wed 06-Feb-13 11:29:06

I think a four mile cycle every day plus a quick walk at lunchtime is okay. Its not as if you're sitting on your arse the rest of the time watching telly.

whiteflame Wed 06-Feb-13 11:28:49

Great to read all these ideas.

I have been having a sort of fight with DH, who keeps insisting my 45 min daily walk (part of commute) isn't good enough exercise. I told him I would love to do more, but when??

Anyway, looks like he was right (grr), and this has inspired me to really do it.

nefertarii Wed 06-Feb-13 11:25:59

personally I need less sleep the fitter I am.

I own restaurant so somtimes its bed at midnight and up at 5-6am. Tbh if I I go to the gun first thing I feel more awake than if I get 8 hours.

I used need no less than 8 and ideally 10 hours to stop me being tired.

I do feel like a dick telling everyone how great it is. But honestly I spent my early twenties overweight, unfit and knackered. The first couple of months of working our were difficult but after that it got easier and I started wanting to do it. I felt I needed to do a spin class more than an extra hour in bed. 4 years ago i would have needed the extra hour.

I am 30 and in better shape than i was in my teens and 20s. i lift weights, do spinning and kettle bells, do boxing. I love it.

And yes i realise i sound a buy of an idiot. But i love it. So do the kids. They love how much else do as a family.

13Iggis that sounds like a plan. grin

choceyes Wed 06-Feb-13 11:21:05

I work 3 days a week and generally on the days I work I don't do any exercise. I sit at work most of the day. Although I do walk half an hour each way to work, pushing a buggy and a 4yr old on a buggy board - which is hard work, on those 3 days. I have been going to a Zumba class one of those days in the evening from 6.30-8pm too since after the festive period to lose the xmas weight and I have lost the 4lbs I gained so that's great. But I've been missing my DCs and they've been missing me as it's a nurseyr day and they haven't seen me for the whole day and I miss reading books and playing with them before bedtime, so I'm not going to that session anymore.
But on my 2 days off work I go to the Zumba class 7-8pm. DH does the bedtime stuff, and I get the exercise out of the way by 8pm and that's great!

At the weekends, I don't do any formal exercise, but I walk miles and miles, as we don't have a car, so walk everywhere.

I'm feeling a bit poorly at the moment, with fluey symptoms, but once that's worn off I'm plannign to start the C25K 3 times a week in addition to my twice a week Zumba classes. That way I can exercise after the kids are in bed on my work days.

My DH cycles to work 10 miles each way, 100 miles a week! On top of that he plays squash one a week too and during the evening he never sits down and is constantly tidying up/cleaning. Also he walks a lot at the weekend just like me. He is superfit! Makes me feel guilty when I'm sat on the sofa watching TV.

OneLieIn Wed 06-Feb-13 11:07:55

How much sleep do you all have?

Reading this, I thi k you all must be superhuman! If anyone can find me time to exercise, I would be shocked!!

Up at 6 or 6.30, out by 7 or 7.30, work, work, work, home by 7 on a good day, 10 on a bad day. Eat, bed, start again.

I do walk to the station and up stairs, but I hate getting sweaty in work clothes, it's just revolting!

Hopefully Wed 06-Feb-13 11:01:40

Oh, and I have a couple of friends who do an exercise regime that consists entirely of push ups - just drop and do one, two, five, ten, whatever you can/have got time for at any given moment of the day. When you first get out of bed, when you go for a wee, when the kettle is boiling, whatever. Push ups are amazing for core strength, abs, shoulders and legs. And when you get really good (i.e. can do more than about 10 at a time, which is what I can do), they can even be a bit of a cardio workout.

Hopefully Wed 06-Feb-13 10:59:13

Mirai you may find that if you forced yourself to exercise (easier said than done, I know) that you felt less tired - when i am fit and working out regularly, I can easily get by on 6-7.5 hours of sleep a night. When I am eating too many carbs and not exercising enough I need at least 8.5, preferably a bit more.

It is impossible to not sound like a complete wanker when extolling the virtues of making time to exercise, but it really is just about utterly forcing yourself to do it, and then you get in the swing of it and just make time. I find that if we slip out of the habit of exercising for a month or so, it is suddenly incredibly hard to 'make time' to do it. When we are both exercising 4-5 times a week, there is no question of how to make time, it just happens.

Oh, and not sitting down helps - as soon as you sit down and relax of an evening, there's absolutely no chance of getting up and exercising, IME. I have to just get straight on and do it the minute the DCs are in bed. Whoever is exercising first out of DH and me, the other puts away dinner, loads the dishwasher/does washing up, usually puts on a laundry, and puts out the breakfast stuff if there's time. That takes about the length of time that Shred/Chalean exercise DVDs take to run (27 mins for Shred, between 25 and 44 for Chalean).

Wishihadabs Wed 06-Feb-13 10:55:00

And I don't have abs sad

Wishihadabs Wed 06-Feb-13 10:53:40

I run on Sunday mornings and once at 630am in the week. I also do Pilates at 730pm or 745 depending on other commitments. I also cycle to work (20 mins so ? 6 miles ) but that's to save time.So don't "count" it IYSWIM

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