When life gets hectic – we’re thinking kids, work, social obligations, household duties – and you want to score some time for fitness, read on!
The number one excuse for not exercising more is “lack of time”. Hands down.
If we had an extra hour, a babysitter, a less demanding job, less carpooling, fewer social obligations and more energy, we would definitely be the healthiest people around. But alas, most of us have normal lives. And within the context of a “normal life”, exercise is often last on the totem pole. If you happen to be a woman, with a partner and children, and either work at home or out of the home, exercise is likely to be so low on the priority list that it has all but disappeared.
Added to the lack of time is the lack of time alone! My problem is not the motivation to go exercise, it is the lack of time I have alone with three young children (too young to leave on their own for a reasonably long time), work, a husband that travels often, and children’s activities (during the week and sometimes on the weekend). Fitness as a family is great, and the options are endless, but sometimes being alone and working out is where true peace sets in for me. And it usually takes a bit of organization… sometimes a lot!
I have become quite good at negotiating with my husband on the weekends. Marriage is all about give and take. While the kids are young it seems this is multiplied tenfold. Negotiating time for fitness (or indeed for anything – how about “free time”!) needs to be done gently or it can be a great source of tension.
Here I give you seven ways to negotiate (gently and kindly) with your spouse to get a few extra hours (one hour?) of fitness time per week. If fitness is your priority, read, learn and apply the following rules. Start this very weekend if you can! When mama is happy, everyone is happy! Getting time on your own is going to benefit everyone around you!
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN GIVE FIRST
Before you launch into your request for time off, think of the time off you can give him/her (in the same week, same weekend). “Let me go running this morning, and tomorrow morning you can go play golf with your friends.”
BUTTER HIM UP
Okay I will leave this to your discretion, but do something he really enjoys, and you’ll see how much easier it is to get what you want. Just saying.
MARK IT ON A CALENDAR
Forget confrontational discussions about who does what and when! Why not each choose a colored marker (take one from the kids) and mark the time off on your family calendar in advance.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD WITH YOUR REQUEST
Start out with an hour of free time as opposed to a weekend yoga retreat (although we’re all for an entire weekend if you think you’ve got this negotiating thing down). Much easier to digest for your hubby.
DON’T EXPECT MUCH UPON YOUR RETURN
When you get home from your time away, don’t expect a clean kitchen, folded laundry and toys in their bins. Be realistic. Life is not perfect. You got some time away, and that’s what you asked for, not Mary Poppins. Don’t criticize him or he will be reluctant to say yes the next time.
DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR FITNESS TIME ALONE
For me going for a run, power walk or yoga class is only partly about getting exercise and burning calories. It is equally (or even more so) about being outdoors in nature and having time to think (or not think!) on my own. To me, this is essential in feeling balanced and healthy – emotionally and physically. When I explain it to my husband in this way, he is more aware that my time off is a necessity, not just a luxury. And I know the same applies to him. We are both better parents and partners when we’ve had a bit of time off from everyone and all the demands in our lives.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, FORGET ALONE TIME AND GO HAVE FUN
Sometimes a bit of solitude is not meant to be. This is the time to search for the gratitude of having little ones around and look forward to family time together moving outdoors, dancing, taking a long walk. You’ll get a long run in some other time… Just go back to negotiating tactic one tomorrow.