When I was younger (late teens, early twenties), I was good about incorporating exercise into my daily routine. I’ve never been an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I led a fairly active life.
My first child was born during those younger years. My body bounced right back and I was soon in as good of shape or better than before I was pregnant.
Fast forward seventeen years and you will find a very different mom! My twins were born when I was thirty-five years old. Somehow I actually managed to lose the entire fifty pounds I gained during pregnancy, but my body looks entirely different than it did before I was pregnant. It will definitely take more structured exercise to work on those stubborn areas of my body.
Did I say exercise? Somewhere along the line that word was excluded from my vocabulary. Who has time to exercise? I thought chasing my boys around would be plenty enough exercise, but as time goes on I am realizing that is just not the case.
There are a number of ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily schedule, but if you are a stay-at-home mom, your time and resources are probably fairly limited. Here are some ideas for working exercise into your daily routine:
Take your children for regular walks. Especially if you have young children, they are easy to put into a stroller and take on a long walk around the neighborhood. I have found that even when I don’t find any other time to excercise, it is fairly easy to keep walking every day once you get into the routine. My boys love to sight see while we are on our walks, and when they get older we will find a way to expand our walks in a way that will be more educational for them (e.g. nature walks). During the winter time, many moms push their strollers around the local mall for excercise.
Walking is great for your heart, but maintaining muscle tone is also very important. It seems like after I hit the magic age of thirty I was spending more and more time in my chiropractor’s office. Exercise videos are an easy way to work on your muscle tone. I have a hard time doing these every day, but even if you do them a couple of times a week (in addition to walking) it will really help your muscle tone. This type of exercise reduces back aches, muscle tension, and gives you more energy.
Exercise videos are also great for kids. They will surely want to get in on the action and participate (there are even videos just for kids). They find it quite entertaining. There are hundreds of exercise videos on the market. I am currently a fan of Jillian Michaels’ work out videos. You might remember her from the Biggest Loser television show. Her videos are great. They are a very thorough workout, but include beginner exercises too, so they fit the needs of all exercise levels. You can find her videos just about anywhere. I bought a complete set that was cheaper than buying the individual videos.
An easy way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine is through household chores. Gardening and house cleaning provide great opportunities to work off those extra calories. During the summer my boys and I spend almost all of every morning outside. I work around the yard and they play…works out great for all of us.
You can also join an exercise class. I have found our local health club to be too expensive for our family, especially when you add on childcare fees. Most communities offer inexpensive exercise classes, although often they do not offer childcare. Some, however, are scheduled very early in the morning so you might be able to squeeze one in before your husband leaves for work.
Churches are also a great resource. Our church offers an inexpensive exercise class that is open to the entire community. Childcare is either free or very inexpensive and it’s also a great way for women get out of the house for awhile while also getting some exercise.
If you’re not sure you are healthy enough for a regular exercise routine, make sure to check with your doctor first. I still make periodic appointments with my chiropractor to make sure I am not exercising while my back’s out of alignment.
I hope these ideas have got you thinking about how you can incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. You can’t afford not to. We aren’t getting any younger, and exercise is very important to staying healthy as we get older. It a necessity, not an option.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.christian-parent.com