I seem to be running exactly one day behind this week. This was supposed to be yesterday’s “healthy living” post.
Modern conveniences have ushered in an era where sedentary lives are possible for the “common woman”. We no longer have to draw water from a well, grow all our own food, wash and ring our clothes by hand or walk wherever we need to go.
Cars, water faucets, refrigerators and washing machines make our lives easier. Unfortunately, they’ve also made exercise something we have to actively choose instead of just having it be part of life.
And, well, sometimes exercise feels like intentionally inflicting torture on yourself! As an unknown author put it, “Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”
For years, I’ve chosen chocolate far more often than exercise.
The benefits of exercise have been pounded into us since we were little: Exercise helps prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and other “diseases of affluence.” Exercise increases stamina. Exercise curbs weight gain.
However, when you’re young, feel healthy and don’t have difficulty with weight gain, exercise may not seem worth the trouble. For years I’ve exercised for a day or two and then quit for months.
After numerous failed attempts at exercising regularly, I realized…
- The benefits must seem worth the effort. I’m not trying to lose weight. There are no immediate outward signs I’m looking for (though being more fit is nice.) However, I feel better, sleep better, and (though every other muscle may be screaming at me) my heart thanks me! I want to be healthy not only today, but also when my grandchildren grow up.
- I need to plan for the long-term. I have to view exercise as something I plan to do for the rest of my life. Otherwise, sickness or travel breaks my resolve.
- The time commitment must be reasonable. I have three little children. An hour workout is simply not going to happen. However, they play happily for 30 minutes. Or, we can exercise together.
- Accountability is important.
- Keep exercise in perspective. “Bodily training is of some value” but “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8) No amount of exercise will prolong our lives past the day God appointed.
If you have small children, finding time to exercise can be difficult, but it’s certainly possible!
Find a workout routine that fits in your schedule
- I use Jillian Michael”s “30 Day Shred.” The workouts are intense, but only 25 minutes from start to finish. I can squeeze 25 minutes into my morning! (Like most workout videos, the outfits aren’t modest. I exercise while the children are occupied and not watching the video. Also, she uses a few words I don’t want my kids repeating, so I generally keep the sound very quiet. Once you’ve done a workout 23 times, you really hardly need a DVD.)
- Play games like “Red Light, Green Light” or “Mother May I?” together.
- Go on a long walk together (pushing a stroller can be exhausting!)
- “Fly” the kids in the air.
- Turn on some lively music and dance together.
- Swim, ride horses or play a sport together.
Make exercise a regular part of your life
- If you “need to get out of the house” take a walk to the park or explore the woods with your kids.
- When shopping, don’t spend five minutes trying to find a good parking spot. Just park the car and walk! You can usually find empty spots near a cart holder if it’s not right next to the entrance.
- Do squats, balance training, or Kegel exercises while cooking or doing laundry.
- Most homemaking jobs in modern American require little exercise. Choose to do some things the old-fashioned way, whether it’s gardening, hanging out laundry or kneading your own bread.
My goal is to do the workout routine three times a week and exercise with the kids (usually either a long walk together or working in the garden) three days. Though my weeks rarely go entirely according to plan, fitting at least some exercise into my week has made a big difference.
What about you? How do you find time to exercise? (or do you?)
(Full Disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.)