Fitness Diaries: Workout hacks for busy mums

Amber Brammah is a personal trainer and founder of Lovefit, Cambridge. Mum to Milo and a pre and postnatal specialist, she helps women get back into bodies they love. This month she looks at health and fitness hacks for busy mums

Self care like restorative yoga is essential for busy mums (45032201)
Self care like restorative yoga is essential for busy mums (45032201)

Along with January and September, the month of April is always a time of new beginnings, and this year it’s even more noticeable than ever. With schools reopening last month, and Spring being in the air, it finally feels like there is light at the end of the (very long) tunnel.

I work with a lot of mums and one thing that I keep hearing lately is that the pandemic has given us all a renewed focus on the importance of looking after ourselves. Many women are now wanting to truly focus on their fitness as a matter of priority for a number of reasons:

1. A global pandemic is a good reminder that we should never take our health for granted! Being fit and strong in mind and body is the best possible starting point in the defence against any illness.

2. Having spent an intense two months splicing up our personality into teacher / paid employee / mum / cook / cleaner, it feels like there is now a little bit of breathing space to just be YOU. Whilst I am hoping that my son’s return to school means that I don’t have to catch up on work quite so late every single night and weekend, I am also convinced that – if I’ve been spending 3-4 hours home-schooling every day – I can now use that time not only to do my actual job, but could also carve out 30 minutes for exercise.

3. The pandemic and all the stresses that come along with it, have massively impacted the mental health of the nation. We’re well aware that exercise and mental health are strongly linked, and quite frankly we could all use an extra dose of endorphins at the moment.

4. On a personal level, I’m aware that my son hasn’t seen me at my best in recent months. Yes, he’ll have witnessed my strong work ethic, but he certainly hasn’t seen self-care modelled. I want to make sure that he sees me working out, eating well, resting. These youngsters have been through a lot, and I truly believe it is our responsibility as parents to emphasise how to be healthy, and come back even stronger as we emerge from lockdown.

If, like many, you are a mum who uttered the words “when the kids go back to school I’d like to (insert fitness goal here…)” then here’s how I suggest you proceed:

- Include strength work.

As a mum, functionally, you need to be strong! There is so much bending / squatting / lifting in day to day mum-life. Be sure to focus on your bum (glutes) especially if you spend a large chunk of your day sitting on it.

- Incorporate some mobility work.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people focus too much on the ‘workout’ and undervalue the importance of release work. We hold a lot of tension (and I’ll say it again – now more so than ever)! so we can’t expect our bodies to keep ‘doing’ more if we don’t factor in any ‘letting go’. Gentle mobilisers such as cat-cows, hip circles, hugging knees to chest are a great place to start. Including some restorative yoga is also a good shout.

- Buddy up.

I always say this, but that’s because it’s so true. Having somebody to be accountable to will help make your new habits stick. Whether you seek assistance from a professional fitness coach, join an online community, or simply meet a friend for a walk / run, people tend to have greater success when they don’t go it alone.

I hope this helps you to make a well-deserved start on focusing on yourself. Good luck.

Amber Brammah, of Lovefit (45032199)
Amber Brammah, of Lovefit (45032199)

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