I used to hate to sweat. I thought it was gross and hated physically working hard. Then I had three kids in two years and realized that if I didn’t pull it together I was going to be miserable and miss the active moments of their lives. I remembered that I really enjoyed running, never far or fast, but enjoyed it none the less. I started one minute of running at a time. It was hard and hot.
Three months later, I heard about Whole 30. I did my first round over Halloween of that year and almost exactly a year later I ran my first half marathon. I’m still not fast but I have found a love for exercise. As a stay at home mom of three under school age, I needed to figure out how to keep my sanity, work towards better fitness, and still get everything done.
It started with little changes. Finding 20 minutes here and there to do a workout video. Usually Jillian Michaels Shred which is a great short workout (great results, minimal time, and minimal equipment needed).
The goal I set was 20 minutes of some sort of exercise three days a week. I didn’t want to box myself into an elaborate routine. I knew if I did that I would get overwhelmed with my commitment and get bored with the activities I chose. I also knew that I would start resenting my workout. I could run, do a workout video, do yoga, or a little of everything. The only requirement was that I moved in a way that helped my body feel better and get stronger.
Once I started feeling the tiger blood, I took little five minute windows here and there to add onto my workout (abs, lunges etc. -just added something). It was about the mindset not the outcome. My workout time became my “me time.” My time to re-group, increase mental strength, physical strength, and breathe. This mindset is what keeps me going. It wasn’t about the end game. It was about the journey. I continue to switch up my workouts to keep it interesting by keeping a master list of options for the gym, plus running, and my ritual Friday night yoga. It’s been a year and a half since I started and the journey continues. Longer running distances, heavier weights and reps, and more mindful yoga.
There are numerous different ways people incorporate exercise into a busy schedule. This is a list of some quick tips I have found helpful in incorporating exercise into my everyday life:
Adopt a “move more” mindset This will help you to think of movement/ exercise as less of a chore.
Incorporate strength training at least one time a week. This will help in creating better overall fitness and helps prevent injuries.
Take the time to warm up and cool down / stretch This will also help to prevent injuries that will end up sidelining you and deterring you from your exercise goals.
Do what works for you Most of the time I exercise by myself because I prefer the flexibility. Some people work out best with other people because of the accountability factor.
Know yourself! I know that I will make excuses not to exercise in the evening because I’m tired or have a million things to do, so I prefer to exercise in the morning.
Turn tasks/ chores into exercise Volunteer to mow the lawn or snow blow. This is one of my favorites. Not only does it give me a break from the kids but I can get tons of steps in while getting a chore done.
Track your steps I found this to be very motivational. I love competing with myself to get more steps than I did the previous day. I also love trying to get to 10,000 steps before noon. As I have increased my fitness level and continue my Whole 30 and Food Freedom journey, I have found that my steps have increased. I use the Fitbit Charge2, but there are numerous options out there.
I still have a long way to go in my exercise journey but since I don’t have an end goal, I am only really thinking about the day to day journey. Since beginning with one minute slow as molasses jogs, I have finished a half marathon, multiple 5Ks, spin classes, dance classes, intense hot yoga, hundreds of thousands of steps, and many other non-traditional forms of exercise. I love it and the opportunity to continue to try new things. Plus, I can now run fast enough to catch my kids every time they race me.
*** Please make sure you consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime. ***