As a therapist who works with the elderly, I have always recognized the importance of being somewhat in shape. My patients who walk regularly, eat healthfully, and lift weights usually have a greater success rate after surgery/injury. Personally, I like the ability to fit in my clothes, chase after my children, and not get too winded walking up the stairs with a load of laundry. Is my goal to wear a bikini? Heck no! I'm a mom. My goal is to stay healthy so I can be around for my kids as they grow. How do I find time? How can I afford it? How do I stick to it?
- Finding the Time: First thing, write a brief description of your day in 15 minute increments. Were there any extended internet/TV times? How about times when your kids watch a television show? Do you get up before your kids? Many people use the excuse, "I don't have time to work out!" Well, if you are talking about driving to a gym, going to a fitness class, running 15 miles... well, not many moms have time for that. I'm not talking extreme fitness, I'm talking about the recommended exercise level. Only have ten minutes? If you do that 2x a day you burn more calories than someone who works out for 30 minutes straight!! Squeezing in exercise can be easier than you think. While you watch TV, jog in place during the commercials or do crunches. Do leg lifts while you load the dishwasher, do squats when you wait for the microwave to finish, and even dance like a maniac with your kids.
Even when I baby-sit.... I make them all work-out with me...
- Include Your Children. Fitness can be a fun, family lifestyle as well. My children know all my work-outs and they join in too! We hike (A LOT) as a family, jump-rope, and play tag. Sometimes I try to fly a kite.... I swear I burn more calories in 10 minutes of a failed-kite-flying than during my cross-country practice in high school. When my children were babies, I did baby-kiss push-ups and rolling crunches to work on their neck control and my abdominals. Grace even likes to make up her own aerobics now and we have to take her "class". My kids know how to do mountain-climbers, burpees, squats, lunges, jumping jacks.... etc.
- Fitness is Free. I do not have the money or time to go to the gym. I am blessed with an elliptical in my basement which I use 2-3x/week. But the other 3-4 days a week I use youtube.com, DVDs from the library, and On Demand Fitness (through Comcast). I even have a new kindle app for when I am traveling. They have condensed cardio-exercises that get me sweating and heart pumping in less than 30 minutes. My favorite right now is the Ballet Barre exercises and Cardio Tabata (or H.I.I.T high-intensity-interval training)
- Make it a Routine. The newest studies indicate it takes more than 30 days to form a new habit... yep... it takes a long, long time! Try and stay motivated! I have made exercise to be a part of my daily routine. It's not extreme so it's not that burdensome and it does not take me away from my kids. Sometimes I put a TV show for them in one room, and use my laptop in the kitchen to do a twenty minute workout. Try not to have a work-out regime that relies only on being outside. Walking and running are fantastic---when the weather is perfect... but I live in New Hampshire.... Make sure you have exercises for every season. Group sports are great--but they are seasonal too! Focus on an attainable goal of 15-20 minutes a day of fitness.
- Change Up Your Fitness. For people who are plagued with injuries: running, biking, and aerobics are all fantastic, but your body needs variety to burn calories and all of your muscles need to work in order to prevent strains and pulls. Since I change up the type of exercise I do each day I rarely strain a muscle or obtain a repetitive-stress injury
Enjoying the yummy ice cream!
- Why Work Out? I love to eat. I like to eat candy with the kids and ice cream cones in the summer. I eat cupcakes at birthday parties and chow popcorn during movies-- I like to enjoy life (with a touch of moderation). But I also want to maintain my BMI (Body Mass Index) so I can avoid health-related weight problems and I don't want to buy a new wardrobe when I put on some pounds.
Easy Rule #817053- Exercise can be a fun part of your daily routine-- especially if your kids are part of the action.
Easy Rule #7891- It's spring! Start some new active habits!