Now that we have a good head start on our eating habits from Week 1: Eating Habits, let’s start getting our body moving. Even though there are many various ways you could get active, the information I’m giving you is just the beginning of what you can do. One thing is for certain, though…You want to exercise on a daily basis.
If you’re anything like me, you feel like chasing after five kids should qualify as a fat burning activity. I’m sure at one point all that running around was beneficial to your health, but, like most activities, your body becomes used to what you’re doing so those tasks are now a part of what is called ADL, Activities of Daily Living. That kinda sucks, I know, but the great news is I have some amazing tips that will help you whether you are with the kids or not. Awesome, right?
*Please consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any fitness program to determine if it fits with your needs.
Day 8. Make a Plan
Everyone is at different fitness levels, and certain medical conditions may keep you from getting involved in many activities. Regardless of where you are in your fitness, the best thing to do is keep it simple. As moms, we always feel like we have to do it all, and “it” must be grand because, hey, we’re “Super Mom”! Well “Super Mom”, I need to put your power on hold because this is a time when you really need to go slow and steady.
When you are making a plan, you need to think about what part of your body you want to work out. I like to focus on my legs, glutes, abs, and arms for my workout session. I usually pick two body parts and rotate each day so my body is getting a variety of exercises. Each muscle group should be trained 2-3 days a week. These are a few muscle groups: abdominal, chest (pectoral), back (trapezius and latissimus dorsi), arms (biceps and triceps), legs and butt (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus). Here are a few exercises that target these areas and require no equipment:
- Legs-squats, wall sits, side shuffles, calf raises, inner thigh lift
- Glutes-single leg bridge, squat side kick, back leg lifts, donkey kicks
- Abs-plank to push-up, flutter kicks, scissors, bicycle crunch, V-crunch
- Arms-tricep dips, push-ups (standard or elevated), arm circles (forward and backwards)
Once you have a list of exercises, you should decide how many reps and sets you will do. A rep is the number of times you execute a specific exercise, and a set is the number of rounds of reps that you complete. For example, if you are working on abs and you want to do flutter kicks, you could do two sets of ten reps each set.
Day 9. Do a Mile or Two
Whether you like to be outside or prefer to be in the gym, grab a pair of sneakers and go. For me, there is something so freeing about jogging outside, especially in the morning. I live in Georgia, and the cool morning breeze seems to just kiss you in the early hours of the day. Whether you choose the pavement, a treadmill, or a track, use this time as a breather. This is my chance to have some alone time, perhaps connect with God as I jog and chat, or simply jam to some music cuz I’m kid-less. The looks I get when my song comes on in the middle of the jog may be strange, but I don’t care; I feel free!
You don’t have to be a jogger to get out there and put some miles in for the day. Perhaps, you could walk, swim, or ride a bike. You may want to invest in a pedometer that will help you keep count of your steps; you can even use apps on your phone to track your progress. Walking, in particular, is a low-impact exercise that serves as a simple yet effective way to kick-start your healthy habits of getting active.
Day 10. Grab a Buddy
Some of my best workout sessions take place with a friend. Meeting up with a friend or coworker will help you be accountable. Most of the time, if someone knows that you are supposed to be doing an activity, you are more likely to stay on track. I also like to use this as an opportunity to catch up as we encourage each other on life and our fitness; it’s a win-win.
There’s this amazing lady I met in my neighborhood while walking my girls and she was walking with her daughter. I stopped to pretend I was fixing something on the girls’ stroller cuz I wanted to see if this fit mama could potentially be my friend. I’m one of those people who tries to make friends everywhere. Anyway, that was three months ago, and she’s become an awesome friend. We have been chattin’ it up and working out together ever since that day!
Day 11. Try Something New
Once you get the hang of exercising on a regular basis, it can become extremely easy to fall into patterns of doing the same exercises every day. I get it! You’re just starting to really like what you are doing and you’re even mastering the techniques. However, if you don’t change things up your body will get used to the exercises and progress may slow down or even stop, causing a plateau.
A wonderful fellow mommy of twins reached out to me to see if I wanted to try Piloxing. What the heck is that?! Apparently it’s a mix of pilates and boxing, which actually sounds really cool. I’m meeting up with her this Friday so we can do Piloxing together. I’m sure it’s gonna kick my butt, but I say bring it on! Haha. There are a ton of workout classes you can try, and most of the time the first one is FREE! You can try Zumba, water aerobics, hot yoga, or even a pole dancing class. Get out there and be adventurous with your fitness!
Day 12. Stretch it All Out
Although you are making great strides on being active each week, it’s often good to take a session to slow things down a bit. My mom is big into yoga, and I used to playfully make fun of her, saying how she was going to “Be one with thyself”. Well, since making a lifestyle change I can really see the benefit of doing yoga or other body movements designed to strengthen and lengthen the muscles. I used to think you had to do really crazy poses, but most of them are actually very calming. It really depends on what your goal is when it comes to yoga.
There are many different styles of yoga. I don’t go into the religious aspects of yoga, however there is something very peaceful in the breathing and stretching while meditating on things in my life. Yoga can help with stiffness, posture, range of motion (ROM), or stress.
Try some beginner yoga today. You can look some poses up on Pinterest or YouTube videos, and even a few minutes of yoga can make a world of difference.
Day 13. Be a Kid Again
There are many women who do not enjoy exercising at all. Just the thought of going to the gym or doing a squat turns them off. I can’t say I blame them. However, as a Stay-At-Home-Mom, I plan activities for the kiddos, so I create a plan that will keep my body moving, too.
Make working out fun by dancing in the house while mimicking some of your favorite music videos, or be your own choreographer. (You can do it, nobody’s watching!) Walk your kids to the nearest park instead of driving. Take your older kiddos out on a hike, or take your kids to the park and copy what they do. It’s exhausting! Pretend you are a gymnast and jump, flip, and do handstands on a trampoline. Take your kids for a neighborhood bike ride. Let your imagination run wild as you rewind the clock and become a kid again.
Day 14. Compete with Yourself
Now that you’ve tried all these activities, it’s time to outdo yourself. When I go jogging, sometimes I like to play a game where I jog faster to not let someone pass me, or I try to catch up to someone in front of me. I don’t do it in a competitive way; it just helps me push my limits. I do this not because I want to be better than that person, but because I’m wanting to be better than I was yesterday.
I am an asthmatic jogger. When I first start jogging seriously a year ago, my time was 20 minutes per mile; my goal was to try to get to 15 minutes per mile. We lived in Colorado at the time and some days were very difficult, but it was important to me to not let my fears or insecurities keep me from my personal goal. Now we are in Georgia with humidity and heat, but again, I don’t let that deter me from my goal. Surpassing my goal, I can now jog a mile in 11-12 minutes, and I feel extremely proud of myself. It may be slow to many, but it is lightning speed to me.
LET’S Get Started
I am learning, growing, and pushing harder each day. I cry, get mad, and pout, but this way of life is so worth it. However, I keep reminding myself that the more I do it, the more it becomes my norm. And that’s what I want for you, too!