Friday, April 6, 2018

MOM LIFE :: How Exercise Helps Me

Exercising has always been a struggle for me.  Finding a routine, sticking to a routine, just getting the drive to work name it.  When I have one of those days, it can be the first thing I drop because when you have a pile of other things to do and manage, who has time to work out?  I think it all probably has some genetic explanation.  There has got to be a gene that makes you more athletic so you are more prone to stick to a routine and I just don't have it.  My story is one of ups and downs with exercising but a common thread of persistence to remain consistent because if I have figured out something it's that exercising helps me out in many different ways.

Here are three examples:
1. I sleep better::  Amazing but true.  Even when I don't get to do cardio until 9 pm at night, I find that I fall asleep faster and seem to be less restless during the night.  After I got the Fitbit watch, I started tracking my sleep.  It's the scientist in me...
2. I snack less after dinner::  After our regular 1 h bedtimes with our toddler, I usually crave something sweet.  If I haven't worked out for a couple of days or more, that craving tends to be more intense. I want all things chocolate which is not the healthiest choice after hours.  Right now I'm at a sweet spot because I've been pretty good about my workout routine and one square of dark chocolate seals the deal for me.  That's it.
3.  I feel less stressed::  For me stress manifests mostly in between my shoulder blades.  It's that tightening feeling.  I also tend to get very tired and more impatient at the end of the day and I end up drinking coffee just to keep going.  If I'm sticking to a workout routine, I find that it's easier to get through my day and I'm not depending on coffee to get through my day.

For years I have been working out mostly in our basement.  My husband converted a small storage room into a gym and the elliptical that I had had for years finally regained its purpose.  Over time we added a weight bench, weights and other items so I would say we are pretty well-stocked. Having an exercise room in the basement was a game changer because it made working out that much easier and accessible.

Lately things have changed a bit for me too in a good way in the exercise department.  My kiddos have found a sudden love for the playroom in our gym.  We signed up to the gym mostly for the outdoor pool access during the summer but now I actually get to use in during the year too.  It's like a new world of opportunity!  They are so cute together too!  They have made friends in the playroom and do not protest so far about spending time there.  I do limit their playtime to 35 minutes which I find works well for both of us.  If you have a playroom too at the gym, try it!  For years with my first I had this guilt about leaving her there just to work out but I have come to realize that that is not the right attitude to have for a lot of different reasons.

I have found that I enjoy most doing some form of cardio at the gym and then using the weight machines or doing some hand weights.  I used to be into the classes but I just can't fit them into my system and I am okay with it.  I feel that by taking both my kiddos to the gym with me even during the week, I am teaching them both about healthy habits and how you can fit them into your day even if you work full-time.  I think it's a very powerful message, specially for my daughter.

So that's it!  If you are on the fence about getting back to exercising, stop beating yourself up about it.  Just start small and try to stick with it.  You'll fall off the wagon one hundred times.  Be kind to yourself about it and find a way to get back on quickly.  You'll be glad you did.

What do you do for exercising?  Let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Thank you for reading!

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