Life can be busy at the best of times, but things amp up a gear when it's back-to-school time. Even those without little ones to prepare for the new term find our diaries filling up at this time of year, with that 'back-to-school' feeling lasting long after we stop being students.
When your every minute is accounted for, it can be hard to motivate yourself to work out – especially if the only time you get time for yourself is once the kids are in bed.
At that point, the last thing you want to do is hit the gym or roll out your exercise mat. As part of our Back To School Digital Issue, guest-edited by Alesha Dixon, we spoke to celebrity personal trainers about how the parents who seem to do it all, fit exercise into their busy schedule.
"Even though sometimes the last thing you'll feel like doing is exercising when you're a full-time parent, there are so many physical and mental health benefits for working out," says fitness professional Aimee Victoria Long, who trains the likes of Leigh-Anne Pinnock and actress Lily James.
"Firstly and most obviously, exercising regularly is great for your physical health," Aimee Victoria says. "It will help maintain a healthy body weight, keep your cardiovascular health in check and just generally help you increase your physical fitness."
Making time to work out when you're busy with children can be difficult
Aimee Victoria speaks of the mental health benefits of exercise too, explaining that workout out can increase productivity by giving you an endorphin release.
Don't be put off if you don't have a lot of time to exercise. Aimee Victoria says even a little can help. "Studies have shown that even working out or 20 minutes each morning result in you being more productive throughout the day."
Exercise can help with stress management
She also says that exercise can help with stress management – ideal if you have a lot on your plate at the start of the new team.
"Being a parent can be stressful a lot of the time so taking a little time to focus on your health and exercise can act as a catharsis helping reduce stress," she says.
Aimee Victoria's clients often struggle to fit exercise in their busy schedules. "Parenting is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to exercise," she says. "When the children are young it's not too bad as my clients can work out when the baby is sleeping, however as the kids get older and are more demanding it can be tricky.
Monique seconds that the demands of parenting can mean exercise takes a backseat. "Time is an issue as children are often a priority, with their school times and fitting in all their activities after school too," she says. "Sometimes we may want to get that workout in, our leggings are on and we’re ready, but the events of the morning may not allow this to happen!"
How to fit exercise into a busy day
"I have some clients that I train either super early (we're talking 5am) or super late. Basically when their children are asleep," Aimee Victoria explains.
Monique agrees that the key is finding time in the day to devote to yourself. "Scheduling in that 30-minute session before the day begins is a fantastic way to set yourself up for the rest of the day ahead," she says.
"This may mean getting up just before everyone else, just by 20/ 30 minutes. You will feel more energised, and positive not to mention all the health benefits you will be achieving."
Making time to exercise will make a positive difference to your day
"Some of my clients are super busy and if they are time poor, I'd mainly suggest doing workouts that work around short intense periods of exercise and short rest periods," Aimee Victoria says.
"I'd concentrate on bodyweight hit workouts if they only have 15 minutes spare.
Aimee Victoria Long shared this 25-minute workout on her Instagram
Monique has a different approach to the best workouts to do when you're short on time.
"Do the drop-off at school and then go to a nearby park to do a short workout," she suggests. "Circuits are always a good option. Using nearby benches or steps for added challenge, with step-ups and press-ups. Working out in the fresh air will also give you a feel-good feeling afterward, flooding you with endorphins."
"If you find you have had no time to set aside in a day, then try to walk a bit faster to the bus/ car/ tube and maybe try to take a longer route home or to work."
Monique also suggests trying out online workouts that fit into your schedule – a fifteen-minute session at home doesn't require you to schlepp to the gym, just press play, workout for fifteen minutes and you're good to go.
Try this 20-minute session with Monqiue Eastwood
"The great thing is we have so many online workouts now available to use whenever we have that 15 mins to spare," Monique says. "Spend some time researching the short sessions you want to do in your week ahead, save those sessions somewhere so they are set up and ready to use when time is short, anytime of the day."
Like this story? Sign up to our HELLO! newsletters to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.