Making the Time to Exercise

Making the time to exercise. It’s not always easy, is it?

Living Healthy

Some of you do it already, and you’re awesome! An inspiration, in fact. I’m positive there’s quite a few of you out there that are much more qualified to write this post than I.

However, I am the one writing it and would like to take the time today to talk to those of you that don’t get active regularly. To those of you that have a million other things on your list that take priority.

I was one of you until fairly recently, and I completely and totally understand, truly.

I’m a young mom, I was actually still a teenager when my first child was born. I went on to have two more babies in pretty rapid succession. Our financial situation was such that I had to work full-time the first few years of my boys’ lives. My cooking skills were practically non-existent so we ate out a lot. My “free time” was spent cleaning, doing laundry, taking care of babies, trying to enjoy activities with my family, relaxing and attempting to catch my breath for the upcoming week. Never, ever, did I spend my time exercising or being active. It wasn’t a priority, not even a little bit. I know this might come as a shock, but living this kind of life allowed me to pack on some serious pounds. Surprised? Yeah, I wasn’t either. But I was still young and had avoided the kinds of health problems that often accompany my kind of weight, so I spent 10 years not doing much of anything about it.

Something changed for me this year, call it a third-life crisis if you will. (As in, I hope 30 years turns out to be about a third of the life God has lined out for me.) Maybe it’s the two good friends that got fit and healthy last year. It’s possible my constant exhaustion in the midst of the simple stuff of life finally caught up with me. I’d agree the benign yet terrifying heart palpitations I developed, supposedly from stress & caffeine consumption, scared me right down to the bone. Maybe I woke up one morning and realized all that I was missing as the mostly sedentary mom of three adventurously active boys. Whatever it was, something changed, and it comes down to one simple thing……..

I needed to make time for exercise and activity.

I make time for reading, I fit in time for TV, I have time for blogging, and I allow time for Facebook. I have time to cook, I give a little time to cleaning, I find time to organize and I can take time for games. I dedicate time to school, I make sure I have time for friends and I cherish time with my husband.

We all have the time, and we’re given the responsibility to make the best possible use of it.

Am I being a good steward of my time if I let myself get so unhealthy that simple tasks take twice as long as they should? What good is my time if I can’t hike to the top of a hill to see the intricately thought-out and lovingly crafted forest fort constructed by three proud little boys. What kinds of joys am I relinquishing if I never take the opportunity to run wild through the house chasing a 5 year old that wants nothing more to be caught and tickled until his giggles are gone. I hope you can feel my heart when I tell you I was missing these things and I didn’t even know it.

Sure, I want to lose weight and look better….who doesn’t?!? Much more than that, though, I want the world of possibilities that opens up to me when I choose to lead a healthier kind of life. What kind of example can I be to my kids? How much use can I be to my community? How much more efficiently can I serve my family? What kinds of experiences and activities can we partake of? How many different kinds of people can I meet? It’s exciting to think about the difference I can be in the lives of those I encounter each and every day if I make the commitment to health and activity, wouldn’t you agree?!

Can I take at least 30 minutes every day to ride my bike, go for a walk, take a jog on my elliptical, pop in an exercise DVD, play soccer with my kids, or join a class at my gym? Can I watch my diet, lean on a friend for support, drink more water, and adopt a healthier sleep schedule? Can I ditch excuses, park further away while shopping, move more and make better choices one small step at a time? I can. I really, really can.

Can you?

Let’s talk about it! What’s the main motivation for those of you who are already good about exercising regularly. If you struggle in this area, what’s your main obstacle?

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  1. Time is my main obstacle. I would love to exercise outside more, but with our schedules, that is not easy. And since we homeschool, I basically have 4 children with me 24/7. (I love homeschooling, it just makes going for a walk or run more difficult. Have to do that when my husband is home. And I am NOT a morning person!) I usually end up exercising during the littlest ones nap. Then I need to finally shower 🙂 so it can break up the day. And now that my oldest 2 have volleyball and soccer 2x a week . . . I am at the weight I should be at, but cancer and heart disease run rampant in my family. That is one of my main motivations in exercising. (That, and I’d actually like to put on a bit of weight in the form of muscle!)

    1. You have to do what works for you! I am not a morning person at all, so I don’t work out in the mornings! I usually do a video about an hour after lunch once we’re done with school. You are limited if your kiddos are younger, mine are 10, 7 & 5 and my husband and I feel comfortable leaving them watching a movie or something of the like for 45 minutes while we take a walk together. Putting on muscle has been fun, I just wish the fat would melt with equal awesomeness, lol!

  2. I got healthy and lost 40lbs two years ago. I make time to exercise now. I started that habit two years ago when I started losing weight.
    I think you sum it up really well, it is about making the time. There is never just going to magically be time. I hate getting up early, but that is what I do to get it in because if I don’t it doesn’t happen. I also think you wrote it really well when you talked about it being about what you are missing. It is so fun being active with my kids and keeping up with them. I feel so much better because I put the effort in and exercise. I had heart palpitations as well and was so tired all the time. Not anymore. I love seeing what I am capable of and running circles around my kids!
    Great article. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, K! I’m down 40 lbs. from my heaviest with another 50-60 to go. The difference in just those 40 lbs is literally life changing, isn’t it?!? Congrats to you on your weight loss!

  3. After five children (that last two were twins), I gained quite a bit of weight. I thought that breastfeeding might help take some of it off, and it did. I still diid not feel healthy.

    I started waking up a little earlier and go for a brisk walk for twenty minutes. My goal was to start running, but I couldn’t just take off running. For about 4 weeks, I walked three times a week. One morning, I just decided, “I’m going to run for ten minutes.” That was the hardest run EVER. (And I am an Army veteran, very accustomed to running miles and miles!) Even if it was just a little shuffle, I didn’t stop.

    That was two and a half years ago. These days, I go running with my dog regularly. We do 4-7 miles three times a week, depending on how late I wake up and how lazy I feel. During the summer months, I get nasty chaffing even in the “cooler” mornings, (we live in South Florida), so I don’t run. I lift weights.

    They are not wimpy, girly 2 pound weights. They are fifteen pounds each, and I pump iron for at least twelve minutes a night (so I can shower and go to sleep clean!). Even those short little workouts make a big difference! They are called HITT, High Intensity Interval Training, in which the workout lasts 45 seconds but it intense. Your heart will beat at least 80%Max Heart Rate. Rest for 15 seconds. Do the same, lasting 12 minutes in total.

    Although I haven’t been running since June, I still feel healthy with the HIIT workouts. THe best part is that they are short. You don’t even have to do 15 minutes a day to see a difference within a few days.

    Honestly, though, there are times in the middle of the workout that I question “Why am I doing this? Why REALLY?” The answer is always God. When God calls me to fight for Him, I’ll be ready. Brave like Judith, strong like Samson, happy to work like Noah, ready to deliver His message like Paul.

  4. I am not a morning person, but I have learned that I have to just force myself to do it. There are things in life we don’t want to do (go to work instead of being on permanant vacation,, long division, etc) and getting up at 5:30 so I can exercise is one of them. But I do it anyway. I run every morning at 5:30, then when the kids club at the gym opens, I take the kids down and down 60 minutes of strength training. I shower at the gym, then we head home and start our school day at 9:30.

  5. Hi…loved what you wrote. I just bought a treadmill because I realize it has to be a priority for me. I was just diagnosed with high blood pressured which runs in my family and the exrtra 50 lbs I am carrying does not help at all. Signing off now to get on my treadmill. 🙂

  6. I also have 4 kiddos and I am trying to get up earlier in the morning, but I’m so sleep deprived it is a process. 🙂 Getting to bed before midnight helps and I’m working on it! My kids are 9, 7, 5 and 2, so I don’t feel comfortable leaving them home alone while I go out to exercise. My husband doesn’t really like me being out alone running/walking in our neighborhood. Having said that, my littlest one is down for a nap, I just got in a great workout (Faithful Workout Session 1) and am ready to hit the shower! Love hearing all of these stories of how we all make it work one way or another!

    1. It sure is a process isn’t it?! I imagine fitting that time in will only get easier as the kiddos get older, that’s been the case for me! Thank you for taking the time to share.

  7. Terrific article. When my kids were in school, I worked part time and had plenty of time to exercise. I even ran a marathon. Now that I am homeschooling, I have to make it a priority. I go to the Y each afternoon and the kids go into childwatch (which they do not love, but they seem to understand the reason). So far it is working. IT is not my favorite way to work out but it is helping me to feel more like myslef!

  8. I am really struggling with weight gain and fitness heading towards my middle 40’s and home schooling 2 kids. Back in the day I ran a marathon, did a triathlon and always worked out. I am struggling to find the energy and motivation these days. I used to be a morning workout person; not anymore!

  9. My gosh! I know I’m years behind but I just had to say that this post speaks volumes to me. I’m currently struggling with balancing everything while constantly giving excuse after excuse for my current state, I really want to lose 40-50 lbs but it seems harder than life itself to do! Anyhoo, I’ve recently began homeschooling my 1st grader and this past May, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Exhausted, perhaps extreme, definitely sounds like an understatement. My main areas that I’m struggling with are food related (poor control, selecting healthy foods, and social eater), time related, and excuse driven. I truly feel lost some days. But your post has seriously provided me food for thought. Though I may fall over thing I can say is I will never quit! Take care! -Aryel

    1. I think it’s great that you’re considering starting to exercise! You have to start there, right? For years I knew I needed to get active, but it was when I started to feel really lousy ALL the time that I knew it was time to go ahead and get with it. About 6 months ago, I began going to a local gym 4 mornings a week. The other ladies I work out with keep me accountable, and it’s actually something I look forward to now! I feel so much better, have lost about 15 pounds, and I can fit into my clothes comfortably. I sleep better too! And it’s easier to make healthy choices when it comes to eating (at least most of the time) because I don’t want to “undo” all the hard work I put in at the gym! You just have to jump in there are do it! 🙂

  10. My mom has a similar story to yours. Mother of two before by the time she was 19. Now she is 56 and is in the best shape of her life because she finds the time. She finds the time by going to bed early and getting up early. She is up at 5am and rides her bike with a friend 5 days a week. I’m ashamed to admit she is in better shape than I am at 36! You and everyone who summons the motivation to better themselves through dedicated work are an inspiration to us all! Keep it up 🙂

  11. Good for you, keeping active is so important, yet challenging for a busy mom. I’m a mother of five children with a very large age spread. I have found that the best way to incorporate fitness into my life is to do my best to include my children in my fitness routine. At one point I paid my son to be my “trainer” I paid him $2 per work out for him to wake me up in the morning, workout with me and count my reps. When my kids were younger I would create routines where I would balance them on my legs and sang kids songs. I’ve basically just tried to adapt my fitness to each of their stages as they’ve grown.

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