With spring here and summer rapidly approaching, I’ve been taking a hard look at my personal fitness routines, including both diet and exercise. When the weather is cold outside, I’m less motivated to think about anything more than warm cocoa and a snuggly blanket in front of the fireplace, but with the weather warming up, my family and I have been feeling a bit of cabin fever. Since getting out of the house is always on our mind, right now is a perfect time to look at what I’m doing right (and wrong) about improving my overall health and fitness levels.
Not Just About the Swimsuit
Of course I want to look good in a swimsuit, but by getting (and staying) more fit, I’ll be making sure I look and feel better all the time. Increasing the amount of time I spend exercising will, when coupled with good eating habits, decrease the amount of time it will take to reach my weight loss goals.
Exercising will also help increase my energy reserves, which is an all-around win situation given that I have two young children to keep up with and a very on-the-go lifestyle. In addition, exercise will help thwart very real diseases including osteoporosis (“brittle bones”).
Getting exercise on the weekend isn’t a problem; our family loves the outdoors and we make time for little low-cost getaways where we can hike, camp, fish, go boating or explore local attractions we haven’t seen yet.
The challenge for me and other moms is how to find the time during a busy weekday schedule. Whether you’re a working mom in the office or at home, you know how hard it can be to stuff any extras into an already crammed schedule. I work from home and my schedule is jammed with tasks and errands that leave me feeling lucky if I can catch a moment to breathe.
Luckily, I’ve come across some tips that have helped me see how exercise can fit into even the busiest day.
- I treat exercise as a scheduled event, like a lunch hour and pencil it into my planner. If I need to, I use my lunch hour to exercise; I can eat at my desk.
- Take normal activities and make them part of a daily exercise routine. For example, I always try to take stairs instead of elevators and at home, I go up and down our household stairs a few extra times at a run. I also park away from the store or mall entrance and am working on making it a habit to have to walk an “inconvenient” distance to the door. Every little thing counts! They all add up to calorie-burning success.
- I get the kids involved! I’ll go for a bike ride or a brisk (but kid-friendly paced) walk. Try it and see how it works for you. You’ll enjoy the time outdoors, the kids will enjoy time with Mom (and/or Dad!) and you set a great example to get your kids in the habit of getting away from the video games and computers.
- Even short bouts of focused exercise can give you the same benefit as long sessions. Everyone can find 15 minutes here and there, where it’s harder to carve out hour-long blocks of time.
- Armed with these tactics, I’m confident I can make more time in my day to meet my activity goals. I’m already starting to see results.