Slow exercise: it’s a thing

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing

As a new mum it can be hard to find the energy and motivation to exercise. There’s constant interruptions and jiggly bits that weren’t there before. We all know we need to move our bodies to stay well but with limited spare time and post-baby bodies, the obstacles and excuses tend to mount up.

I was constantly begrudging myself for not having the motivation to take high-intensity classes at the gym or go for a run. But then I realised, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Then it dawned on me: slow exercise. Could that be a thing?

Find your fit mindset

Finding your fit is all about establishing an exercise regime that you enjoy and fits the season of life you’re in. And while were on the topic of mindset, let’s not forget functional fitness; acknowledging and integrating incidental exercise as part of your your daily routine. I’m pretty sure running around after 2 kids and lifting 15 kilogram weights (aka my toddler) a bazillion times a day counts for something!

When it comes to exercise I just love walking and pilates. There are two slow-paced , calming and fabulous exercise options for mums that won’t cost you or the earth, and can be done anywhere, anytime.

I used to feel embarrassed that this was the only exercise I liked doing, but now that I’ve changed to a ‘find your fit’ mindset, I’m owning it 100 per cent and this has helped me to exercise way more regularly than before.

Aim for 10 000 walking steps

Even when you slow it down, you’re still getting great exercise while walking as well as a chance to take in nature and some fresh air. It’s also something you can do with the kids in tow, but then a gain can be a nice opportunity to take a break sometimes.

When my husband is home (he works out of town week-on-week-off) I usually take the opportunity for an early morning walk on my own, or with a friend. Otherwise I take the kids in a double stroller after breakfast.

Walking at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes is a gentle, achievable way to improve your health. You can find out more about the benefits of walking on the Healthline website. I know it seems a bit lame compared to a high intensity gym workout, but looking at all its benefits, it’s actually pretty awesome. So get walking sister!

Slow down and tone up with pilates

Pilates is a low-impact form of strength training, so it’s perfect for mums. Doing Pilates helps me relax and quieten my mind. I’m not one of those mummas who likes to exercise with my kids (sorry guys). I like to be alone, just me, my thoughts and nature.

I’ve taken Pilates classes under instruction and watched DVDs in my living room. Now that I know what I’m doing, my favourite thing is to find a new beach or park, roll out my mat and breath my way through a simple routine.

All you need is a yoga mat. Occasionally I’ll light a scented candle or play some relaxing tunes to add to the ambience.

If you’re thinking of getting into Pilates I would recommend taking a couple of classes to learn the basic techniques, breathing and moves. Then the world is your oyster. For beginners I recommend Everyday Pilates: 15 Minute + DVD by Alycea Ungaro.

My favourite way to end a session is with a quiet meditation or mindfulness activity. Check out the free Smiling Mind app which is one of my faves!

Top 5 tips to help make your slow exercise routine work for you

  1. Start with mindset. Get clear on your values and motivations and banish self-limiting beliefs
  2. Aim for consistency, but don’t be afraid to change this to weekly or even monthly consistency to fit your busy lifestyle
  3. Try everything but stick with what you love – it could be getting back into team sport or paddle boarding; everything counts!
  4. Investing in some quality work out gear is always nice, but don’t go overboard. Stick with classic styles and reputable brands that will wear well and support your feet
  5. Track your progress. I invested in a Fitbit wearable device to set goals and measure my steps and it has been great