Personal Fitness: You Do Have Time

By Merilee Kern

Who has the time to exercise after they put in a full day of work, manage their children's extracurricular activities, homework, bath, and other daily routines, walk the dog, cook a [healthy?] dinner for the family, and so on? Believe it or not, you can make the time!

Yes, I know you're busy, stressed out, and already spread way too thin time-wise. However, exercise is essential for your health and should be considered a mandatory part of your weekly, if not daily, routine. Sadly, personal fitness is usually the first thing busy moms sacrifice when they are over-burdened and under too much pressure. Ironically, exercise can actually help you deal more effectively with the physical and psychological demands of a hectic life.

Even a few 10-minute workout sessions a day can lead to increased stamina as well countless benefits to the mind, body, and spirit. Here are some ways exercise can stimulate the energy level of you harried Modern Moms out there:

  • Let go of the guilt and schedule your exercise time - Simply put, don't ignore your personal needs just because you're busy helping others. Exercise is one of the best ways to enhance your energy and preserve your sanity. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't have the energy or patience to care for anyone else.

  • Exercise first thing in the morning to jump start your day - Your chances of sticking to your program will increase significantly if you exercise in the morning. If you put it off until later in the day, when excuses and fatigue take over, you are far less likely to make it to the gym. Plus, your metabolism remains elevated for more than 7 hours following a one-hour morning workout, so you will have more stamina get you through the day.

  • Add activity to your work day - To renew your vigor in the day-to-day grind, find a healthier way to commute to work, like walking, biking, parking a mile from the office, or getting off your train a stop early. You'll still be high on natural endorphins while everyone else is working on their second cup of coffee. Eliminating some modern traveling conveniences can burn up to an additional 800 calories a week.

  • Make wholesome and nutritious food choices - You are more likely to eat healthier meals if you exercise. The last thing you will want to do is eat a heavy meal after getting the blood pumping through your veins. Ultimately, eating more nutritious food along with regular exercise will lead to weight loss, which will decrease demands on your body and drastically increase your energy and self-esteem.

  • Drink plenty of water - Keep your body hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Your body is made up primarily of water, and while water does not offer calories to provide energy, it contributes to weight loss and assists your digestive system. Drinking ample amounts of water will keep the toxins flowing right out of your body.

  • Find creative ways to integrate family time with exercise - Your entire family will be healthier and more energized as a result of physical activity. Don't be a bystander at the playground. Get up and join in on the activities by pushing a jogging stroller, hitting the hiking trails, running the bases, biking around the neighborhood, climbing the jungle gym, or swimming in the lake. As an added perk, your kids will think you're fun and cool.

  • Get your ZZZs - Regular exercise leads to better quality sleep, which means you won't need as many hours of sleep overall. If you exercise early in the day, you will be naturally tired by bedtime and will have no problem falling into a deep slumber. The deeper you sleep, the fewer hours of shuteye you'll require.

  • Try yoga - Deep breathing techniques used in yoga will help to raise your energy levels and ability to concentrate. Yoga builds balance, coordination, and strength and is revitalizing and wonderfully de-stressing as well. It's the perfect way to decompress after an ultra hectic day!

  • Arm yourself against colds and the flu - People who participate in a regular exercise program are less likely to come down with a cold—and if they do catch a cold, they are less likely to be completely incapacitated by it. Exercisers report fewer symptoms and quicker recoveries from colds.

    Merilee A. Kern, MBA, is a former bodybuilding champion and health advocate, as well as the author of the fictional children's book Making Healthy Choices A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids. She can be reached through her web site at NotFault.com.