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Thursday, January 9, 2014

How I Find Time to Stay Fit (as a homeschool mom and blogger)

Tips on keeping fit for busy moms.

This is not to say I am the picture of fitness—far from it. (That is not me in the above picture.)  I will probably never run a marathon, or even half a marathon.  I've never been an exercise junkie, but I realize the need to stay active.  As my kids have grown (they are now 8 and 14) I’ve found it harder and harder to stay active.

Exercise is Good
We all know that exercise benefits us.  It reduces depression, it increases our metabolism, it lowers blood pressure, it promotes better sleep, and more.  I even know a lesser-known fact, that it cleanses the lymphatic system, a boosting our immune response.

The Problem
Time--We all have so much going on, exercise often takes last priority.  I don't have time to drive to a gym multiple days a week.
Money--My budget doesn't allow a gym membership, nor a desk treadmill--not to mention I don't have room for one in my house.
Motivation--It's just too easy not to exercise!

My Life
When my kids were little I didn't have a hard time staying active (those of you with young kids know what I mean, you're constantly running after them), but now it's different.  Since we homeschool, and my kids are in third grade and eighth grade, I sit at the table with them going over their studies.  I sit for my part-time editing job.  I sit to write for this blog.  I sit and work on my budget and pay bills.  I sit too much.  My hobbies even involve sitting!--I enjoy reading, crochet, and sewing.

My Motivation
It was a wake-up call for me when I read Food Renegade's post on how sitting is killing us.  Just reading her article made me more aware and often that is enough to begin change.  Additional motivation has come as I near 40 and deal with aches and pains.  I notice the more I exercise, the less back and neck pain I deal with.  And a hip joint issue, that started up about a year ago, seems to be managed with more exercise.

My Routine
When I do find a reasonable chunk of time in my day (at least 30 minutes, usually 45), I love to do Pilates.  I have done Winsor Pilates off and on for the last 10 years.  I also like an old Tony Horton DVD, Power 90.  This is long before he came out with P90X.  Some people don't like exercising in their living room.  I actually prefer it to going to the gym.

When the weather is nice, I like to take walks around our neighborhood with my husband. We try our best to do this nightly between March and November (during daylight savings time). We’ve been able to fit in a few walks on weekends, this winter.  Between bouts of temperatures around 1°, we’ve actually had some nice days. We expect temperatures in the 60s this weekend.  And this is a great chance to spend quality time together and have some nice conversation.

But I will admit, lately, my schedule has been so packed I haven't fit in Pilates or Power 90, and since it's winter, it's usually too cold to take a walk.  So, I make a concerted effort to combine exercise with my other activities.

During work on the computer I stand up from time to time. I’m thankful my laptop’s screen leans back about 150°, so I can still see it fine, standing.  During our school time, I've realized I can dictate spelling words to my daughter and even  dictate some oral math problems and do a fair amount of exercise at the same time.  I stand at the other end of the table and open my teacher's manuals--far enough away that my student won't see--and I can lift hand weights and do leg exercises.  I can fit in stretches between my daughter's calculations, or while she's writing spelling words.  Some of these exercises are not just toning, but do get the heart rate going as well. I may be huffing and puffing, but it's worth it.  Rather than be embarrassed, doing a workout in front of my kids, I figure it's a good example that I'm setting for them.  I hope they value physical fitness because they see that I do.  And finally, I will work on my abs, while sitting in a chair.  You can pull in your stomach, tighten your muscles, hold it for as long as possible.  Take a short rest and then repeat.

There are no excuses.  If I can find time, so can you.  Money should not be an issue, as I've shown that you can workout for free, in your own home.  And motivation?  You owe it to yourself, to get up and get moving.  Your body will thank you.  You may consider buying a FitBit.  I've considered buying one, to track the number of steps I'm taking per day.  It is recommended that we take 10,000 steps per day.  I think most of us would be surprised by how few steps we take a day.  Don't look for shortcuts in your house, lose a little efficiency to fit in extra steps.  Don't ask your kids to fetch items for you, go yourself and fit in a few more steps!

What are your tips for staying fit?  We'd love to hear from you.  Join the conversation on Facebook!

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Photo credit: Rance Costa via photopin cc (I added title.)

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  1. Great post! I also am finding myself sitting too long, and the motivation to work out is not always there. I do try to have outdoor projects that combine physical activity with fun, like building a rock wall!!

    1. Glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. I'm inspired by this post! I do my best to stay fit and want to do even more!