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Fitting In Fitness

Posted Dec 29 2008 7:27am
Life is crazy! The work, the kids, the house, the meals, the meetings, the shopping, you name it, it pushes fitness aside. Working out gets crowded out, and then your pants fill out. Ducking the duty to stay in shape isn’t usually intentional. Time just gets away from us.

What is enough time? I mean, how long do you really need to get a good workout? The Surgeon General says we need a minimum of 30 minutes of accumulated activity every day. Good thing he said it could be accumulated, because what busy adult has a consistent half-hour every day to devote to walking or weights?

People ask me all the time how I fit in fitness. These are the same people who know I teach group exercise a few times per week, but they want to know what else I do. Is exercising a few times a week enough for me, they ask, or do I do more? What are my favorite exercises? How do I structure my workouts?

My routine has changed every time my life has changed. I’ve been working out in athletic clubs since I was 16. Back then, I dreamed of being a body builder, and I would spend two hours on the weight floor, doing cardio and soaking in the hot tub afterwards. In college I taught 14 aerobics classes a week to pay for my degree in Exercise and Sport Science. I studied on the recumbent bike.

When I got a job as an assistant manager in a federal fitness facility, I would often team up with members and workout with them in addition to the seven regular classes I taught Monday through Friday. Believe it or not, I taught a pilates/yoga class and rode the recumbent bike the day I went into labor with my daughter. Forty hours of my week, my income--my life--was based on rigorous physical fitness.

My kids are my main career now. I no longer spend 8-9 hours a day in a gym with a plethora of weights and cardio equipment at my fingertips. I only teach four or five classes a week now, and I race in and race out to get back to my kids.

If I want to exercise outside of my classes I have to make it happen. Often things come up with the kids or with my husband, so that I can't teach at all. This really discouraged me at first until I realized for myself what I’d told others all along: “Perfect” isn’t the goal; wellness is the goal. Once I decided to give up the notion of a “perfect workout,” then I starting finding my groove, my rhythm.

What works for me is attempting something every day. It's a lot harder to find the motivation to exercise when I'm on my own and not getting paid for it. I'll put the kids in the stroller and go for a walk/jog or I'll use the kids' naptime to ride my recumbent bike while watching Netflix.

My favorite is to exercise with friends. We solve the eachother's problems, our kids problems, the world's problems, all while doing laps around the neighborhood. I come away from a buddy workout feeling refreshed mentally and physically.

So grab a girlfriend and go for it. All it takes is a minimum of 30 minutes a day, and you owe yourself at least that much. Remember: You are fit to be your kids' mom, and you can be a fit mama!
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