In retrospect, I’ve definitely been a trendy exerciser.
I’ve done step, I’ve run, I love Pilates, hiking, weight lifting and various forms of cardio. I’m both a certified Spinning and yoga instructor.
One of the main reasons that I’ve tried these different forms of working out is that I sincerely love to exercise. I’m one of those people that just truly enjoys moving my body, sweating, and the glowing after-effects of endorphins.
But now I’m a mom. More, my kids are 5 and 1. In other words, exercise used to be something that I did nearly every day, and it was either planned around work, or securely fit into my schedule as that special time just for myself—something I loved doing, and something that relieved stress. As a mother, however, fitness is something I have to hold on to and work to make time for, rather than something that’s a relatively easy add-on to an already full day.
My husband and I—both avid exercise enthusiasts—can attest to the reality that parenting young kids means that workouts are basically always too short, and never quite as frequent as we would prefer. This said, it is a priority in my life, kids or no kids.
Following are my go-to tips that help ensure I exercise almost every day (even though I’m usually surrounded by two adorable tiny workout companions).
1. Let go of time limits.
It’s wonderful to have goals—such as working out for an hour—but some is always better than none.
My biggest piece of practical advice is to completely let go of idealistic time frames, and simply aim to move—in some way, every day, whether it’s dancing in the kitchen while making dinner, or to an online Pilates podcast found YouTube (hint, hint).
2. “Do it for 10 minutes” philosophy.
This extraordinarily basic philosophy works well. When I don’t want to work out, but I know that I’ll feel better if I do, I subscribe to this concept I made up years ago—I tell myself I’ll exercise for only 10 minutes, and then I can stop if I’m still not in the mood.
In probably 20 years of doing this, I think I’ve stopped twice. Because once I surpass that initial hurdle of just doing it, I’ve wanted to continue for at least another 10 or 20 minutes, or more.
3. Try new things.
This seems like common sense, but it’s easy to get into a routine. It’s ideal, really, to fall into a space in life where exercise is regular and predictable. But sometimes routine can mean rut.
Trying a new form of exercise can get us out of ruts, both mentally and physically. It’s good to change it up, at least every now and then.
4. Buy home equipment.
I have been a gym rat and a yoga studio regular, but my absolute preference is to exercise at home. There is no excuse for missing a workout that happens in my living room.
Purchase a yoga mat, or a set of dumbbells—anything!—and then leave them out in the middle of the living room. Make sure you have to trip over them to turn on the lamp.
This has worked doubly well for me, because I, for example, leave three yoga mats next to my couch—one for me and one for each of my kids. Often, it’s my girls that get out the mats—and how do I not move a little bit when that happens?
5. Never give up.
I’ve had two periods of my life when I’ve been unable to workout due to illness, and my husband, when I felt frustrated, would ask me the same question: “You’re in it for the long haul, aren’t you?”
Yes—yes, I am.
I move my body because it feels good. I take care of myself so that I can enjoy my life and health in other ways. I exercise for the sheer pleasure of it, and, equally, because I want to be well for as long as I’m able.
Life brings many variables—ones which we are not in charge of; ones that can leave us feeling helpless. (The best laid plans.) We are in charge of how we treat our bodies, though, and this reality has been empowering to me when I felt out of control in other areas of my life.
What’s one way that you stay motivated to exercise? Share below in comments!