Secrets to Success as a Fit Mom

We all know it can be difficult to find time to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle especially when children and family are involved. Here are some secrets to keep motivated and to successfully balance exercise and family life.

NO EXCUSES!

The first day I walked the usual three miles without my girlfriend Gail, I have to admit that I couldn’t wait until it was over. Torture basically. It was then that I realized how much having an exercise partner really helped to pass the time and ease the pain. But when Gail is not available, I don’t use this as an excuse not to exercise. I have an alternate plan like all exercise routines should. On these days I usually run short distances or use my Walkman along with my favorite upbeat CD, this cannot replace a friend, but it is still a great way to fill the void.

I have three different exercise routes. I basically choose which one I am going to do based on the amount of time I have. I found it very important to have this flexibility, which also keeps me from getting bored.

I used to let the winter months interrupt my exercise routine, using the cold weather as an excuse. I have since admitted that if dressed properly with a headband, a pair of gloves and two layers of clothing, my exercise routine can go uninterrupted during cold weather.

During bad weather or days when I don’t want to go outside I head for my collection of videotapes. I don’t have a lot of tapes but the ones I do own vary in content, time and instructor. I spend a little time doing some research before actually making my video purchases. I watch or videotape several different instructors who have daily television programs. It is important to find an instructor whom you like. It is not beneficial to you to own the video of an instructor of which you can’t stand the sound of their voice. I also rented videos from video stores and borrowed videos from friends. I found what types of exercise videos I enjoyed most and then made my purchases.

DOING WHAT YOU ENJOY

I have a lot of hobbies that help keep me active. Although I hate the stationary bike, I love outdoor bike riding. When my youngest daughter, Macey, was small I used to strap her in a child seat on the back of my bike and every morning we would go for a bike ride. She enjoyed the scenery as much as I benefited from the exercise. In the warm weather I love to play softball and swim. When my children were young, I was always able to con a family member or friend at the pool to watch them for 10 minutes while I swam some laps in the pool. We recently put up a pool in our yard and as soon as it was filled I worked swimming into my daily routine for the summer.

Try to remember the hobbies you enjoyed as a child and participate in them with your children. I never turn down an opportunity to initiate a game of kickball, basketball or soccer with my children. Exercise does not always have to be aerobic, but these types of activities can keep both you and your children active.

It is also important to be a role model for your children in living an active lifestyle. You should never be afraid to reserve a lane at the bowling alley and bowl a couple of games the next time your kids are invited to a bowling party; or to strap on a pair of skates when they’re invited to the roller rink. My children recently became interested in tennis because they saw my girlfriend and I playing on vacation. They also became interested in golf after following their dad to the driving range a couple of times.

THE BALANCING ACT

Most importantly you must find what works best for you. Keep your exercise routine flexible and don’t get discouraged when you get off track because you will. Try not to set yourself up for failure.

You need to be reasonable when setting goals for yourself. I try to plan the day before what exercise routine, if any, will best fit my schedule for that day. That way, when I wake up in the morning I already have a commitment to, “doing what I enjoy most,” and. “being flexible is what makes me successful in balancing exercise with family life.”