23 July 2013

Squeezing in Exercise

I am incredibly lucky in that I have pretty much the most flexible schedule ever. I can stay at home with Magdalena thanks to the fact that I babysit full time the most amazing little boy. I really don't have to squeeze in exercise, I can do it whenever I want.
I can throw the kids in the double stroller and walk, go for a bike ride, or even dance around the living room with them. The only thing I can't do with them is run. It's something I do as a solitary venture, my 'me time.' I have run with Magdalena once or twice, but that's adding an additional 60 or so pounds with her and the stroller - imagine a double stroller and two kids!
But getting that in is simple. Tuesdays and Thursdays I wake up at 5:00 instead of 6:30, go for a five or so mile run, and then get in my squats, lunges and upper body work. On the weekends my very generous parents are around to hang out with Lena while I go running.
It didn't always used to be this way. Yes, for most of my life as a parent, I have been stay at home. But before kids, I worked full time and squeezed in exercise. Here's some tips how:
First of all, let's break it down. You spend eight hours working and eight hours sleeping on average. Let's be generous and say two hours each for anything to do with meals (and a good portion of that is happening during those eight hours already allotted to work) and watching television, and an hour for assorted errands. On a weekday, that's three hours you have for exercise - plenty of time for a half an hour of walking! Can you cut the TV watching back an hour? There we go - more time!
* Like I mentioned before, the simplest thing to do is probably cut back on the TV. Really, how much do you watch a day? I tend to say I only have the television on if I would've been sitting there doing something anyways, like cooking or knitting. But I probably watch more than that. If you can watch half an hour a less a day, then you're good.
If you can't do that, try a commercial workout.
Just Google 'TV commercial workouts' and pick one!
Or walk while you're watching TV. Leslie Sansone is great. I used to put one of her videos on my phone and walk to it while watching tv or bopping around the house.
* Do you have a full hour for lunch? You really need the full hour? Spend half of it walking. If you spend half of every lunch hour walking a mile, that's an additional 500 calories burned a week right there.
* Do you live in close proximity to the grocery store or anywhere else you need to go to do errands? Well, don't drive there! Walk, bike, skate, anything. For me, in the summer, I actually spend only twenty or so minutes more going to the store when I walk (total trip time) than if I drive. The whole trip actually takes less time if I bike.
Now, I live about a mile away from both grocery stores on the island, half a mile away from Main Street and the pharmacy and any other errands I need to run. Let's say it takes me a total of forty minutes walking time to the store and back. That's 20 minute miles, super slow, with the kids, and being burdened with groceries on the way back. Let's add 30 minutes for shopping time - time you would've spent in the story anyways. That's a total of an hour and ten minutes to go to the store, while burning 200 calories.
In the summer, it takes about ten minutes to drive anywhere here, there are so many crazy drivers and pedestrians and whatnot. So, that's 20 minutes driving, plus the half an hour in the store - 50 minutes total, only 20 minutes less! Plus, not dealing with the stress of driving wins out every time.
* Early morning exercise classes. Even where I live, there are many classes to choose from that are done by 8:30 in the morning. Plus, these early morning classes tend to be very communal, so it will be noticed if you miss one!
* Use some sort of program to record your exercise. If there's a day you don't feel like exercising, seeing what you've done already may be just the motivation you need to get out of the break room and onto the sidewalk. Try programs like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal. I recommend using them both, as one focuses mainly on exercise and one on recording calories consumed. And seeing how much you eat can be a good motivator! Plus, joining an awesome online community focused on weight loss such as FatSecret really helps. (If you want, you can add me as a buddy on any of those sites - my MyFitnessPal profile, my RunKeeper profile, my FatSecret profile.)

Really, you have to start looking at exercise like sleeping or eating - something you have to do every day as part of a healthy life. Something you need to survive. Even if you have a bad day at work, you still eat, which can often times make you feel worse. Well, that half an hour of walking (which is only 1/48th of your day!) will probably make you feel much better. :)
Just getting out there and being better than you were the day before is the most important thing. Try adding five minutes of exercise a week, and before you know it, you'll be running 5Ks.
Any tips you would like to share? Please, leave them in the comments!

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