Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Workout Solutions for Busy Moms! Motivators and Mood boosters

My friends and I have the same conversation often…how to fit a workout into a full time family schedule. A full time schedule which consists of work, spouse, children, school drops and activities, homework for one or multiple kids, your own studies and other family duties including taking care of aging parents, did I mention cooking and cleaning? It is a challenging act to juggle that is certain and requires some measure of discipline. Personally, if I could plan exercise into my weekly schedule with some consistency it would be the ultimate achievement. I recently switched from morning or day workouts with my daughter to late afternoon walks after school. It is not easy but as women need to ensure that we exercise for many reasons including more energy (to keep up with the children), longevity and to ensure and maintain overall mental health.

Here are some great motivators to help you get out there and stay the course.

  1. It’s All In Your Mind - Surround yourself with visual reminders of your goals, which counteract inertia by keeping your game plan top of the mind, dumbbells, running shoes, and a yoga mat.
  2. Your Long Term Health – I think that I want to improve on the examples set by my parents times five. Your parents are active, but we must continue to build on their experiences as information and research become available.
  3. What a Feeling! - Think about how great you will feel post exercise. If I have not had the opportunity to exercise for a few days my mental health starts a downward slide to zero and I remember that I may not have had my exercise fix. Exercise is the best mood lifter. It also helps to give added mental clarity, many of your problems may be resolved post exercise and it does help to clear up those pesky winter blues!
  4. Get Them Involved- Incorporate your children and spouse if their schedules allow into your exercise routine. My daughter is still utilizing her jogging stroller which allows us to take the 50 minute round trip walk to the park at least 3 afternoons a week especially in the summer months. As she ages, we may add the bike for her, we jog or bikes for everyone at the park. I have a friend who would drop her son at music lessons; while we waited for our children she would lace up her sneakers and take a brisk walk in the area surrounding the school. Great idea!
  5. It’s Not Too Late, Be Role Model – Be a role model for your children, they will follow. Always make it fun, involve them in outdoor activities, like swimming, gymnastics, tennis early and no pressure to be a super athlete please! This is for health nothing else!
  6. Let Others Motivate You – Find a mommy exercise group for mothers and tots or gather a group of friends and pay for a personal trainer for workouts at a local park, or join a running club. Exercising with other people especially friends is a great motivator to help you stick with your routine and you will really push, you will not want to the slacker in the group. You will be surprised at how fast your fitness level will tick upward.
  7. Weekends Are Not Just for Laundry- Use that weekend time wisely and try to ensure that at least one day of the weekend involves outdoor activities for the entire family.
  8. Train for a 5 K- With or without a group, training for a 5 K is one of the best motivators for getting into shape within a specific time. Marathons can come later, take it slowly and get lots of advice, you will have at least one friend who has either run a 5 K or more, their advice and counsel will be invaluable. It may take a couple of months; choose something at least six months ahead. It will be worth it at the finish line where your biggest fans your family will be cheering and waiting for you. Choose something that also benefits a worthy cause.
  9. Online Aids – Utilize online exercise plans and apps to help you plan a fitness regimen suited to your needs and track your efforts with daily updates and motivational tips.
  10. Winter Tips- Switch your routine at the gym; try a different class to help keep you motivated during the long winter months. Be warned…. The gym should always be very close to your home, anything more than 20 minutes, you will be a no show all winter.

Last but not least, a 15 minute run or brisk walk will help to keep those blood vessels flowing, and boost your vitality. It does not have to be long, just 15 minutes.

Why we must continue to exercise……

Immunity – People who worked out five or more times a week recovered more quickly from colds than people who were not active. I can testify to that one!

Sleep Quality- Compared with women who avoid workouts, those who exercise tend to fall asleep faster and snooze more deeply once they do.

Energy- On average, sedentary people reported 20 percent less daytime fatigue when they started exercising regularly.

Risks of Depression- Physically active people were half as likely as their sedentary counterparts to develop symptoms of depression.

Risk of Breast Cancer- Women who were active are 40 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women who seldom exercised independent of their family history.

Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – People with elevated blood sugar (pre diabetes) can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 59 percent with daily physical activity and modest weight loss (American Diabetes Association)

We would love to get your feedback, how do you keep yourself motivated?

Better Homes and Gardens
Runner’s World

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