We all know that exercise is important. Besides maintaining weight it also has great benefits for our mood, our circulation (which benefits our skin) and our energy levels. It also has the added bonus of raising our metabolism so even at rest we are burning more calories
The main problem for most people though is finding a way to fit it in. Our lifestyles today are so busy and living in a country with very little sunshine and constant rain presents a further challenge! We know ourselves that you can have the best of intentions but sometimes life just gets in the way.
However, in the same way, there will always be a reason not to exercise so you do have to make it a priority. Any exercise is better than none but regularity is better than intense bursts. It has to become a habit but also be manageable with all your other commitments. The key is finding what works for you. Here’s our top tips for creating an exercise plan that will stick…
How to exercise…if you don’t have much time.
Working long hours, commuting, running a house…there are many things that eat into our time and can prevent us from getting in a workout. Being in this situation myself I find that I have to plan ahead or it just wont happen. I try to prepare for a workout the evening before by prepping my dinner, laying out my workout gear or packing a bag for a class that I can do on the way home. Otherwise by the time I would make my food and get sorted I would have lost my motivation or it would be too late. Sometimes it can feel like a huge chore but getting in some exercise is a priority for so I just try and push through my inner resistance most times! If you plan like this even two days of the week then that’s two workouts in the bag. Add one more at the weekend and you’ve reached the recommended ‘3 times a week’ target. It;s not always easy but once it does soon become a habit. (Siofra)
How to exercise…when you’re a mum.
Being a mum is a full time job so it can be hard to take time out for yourself.If you can make time for some regular exercise though you will really feel the benefits. It definitely helps you to feel more body confident and it also boosts your mood and energy levels.With a five year old and 22 month old I don’t have the time to go out to classes or get to a gym so I have learnt to incorporate exercise into our daily routine. (Fainche)
1. School Run I live within walking distance from my little boys primary school so I walk him to school on good days (doesn’t always work out if we are running late though! ;)) If you are not within walking distance to the school, drive closer to school and walk the rest of the way. It is great to get in exercise with your kids. It is good for them also to be active.
2. Nap Time When my little girl needs a nap, I alter where she naps depending on weather. On good days I will let her nap in the buggy during the day so I can exercise outside. I either go for a jog or do lunges up and down the drive way. Or I use my front door step. And on wet days I exercise inside when she naps. Its nice to mix it up and get some fresh air for both you and baby. Get creative- there’s a lot you can do even in a small space!
3. Bath Time Make the most out of bath time. While they are playing I do a few sets of tricep dips on a chair. It’s a great workout to tone your triceps (aka to ward off bingo wings!)
The key is to use very opportunity you can get. A few minutes here and there adds up!
How to exercise…if you get bored easily
We both find one of our biggest obstacles to exercise is boredom.
If you get bored while working out it can be be very hard to sustain motivation. We find that a boring workout just makes us procrastinate and we end up ‘magically’ finding other things to do!
The best way to try to combat boredom during exercise is to mix up what you do – change the form of exercise or even where or how you do it. So for instance instead of walking/jogging all the time you could try incorporate a hike at the weekend or go for a swim once a week.
Likewise if you usually run on a treadmill at the gym that try going for a run outside or incorporating interval training (1 minute walk, 1 minute jog, 1 minute sprint). Another trick we use is to do short bursts of lots of different exercise – so you might warm up with a short jog, then do some body resistance exercises (like squats or lunches) before finishing off with some weights
Five minutes is a very short time to do anything but put all those five minutes together and you have a good varied workout. Use your imagination and don’t get stuck in a rut. Even write down a list of exercises that you could do and refer to this when your getting bored of your current routine.
How to exercise…if you are on a tight budget
Fitness and nutrition have become big business and it can feel like you need to pay out constantly in order to get the right results. From personal trainers and gym memberships to workout gear and even fancy water bottles you could easily spend a LOT on your fitness regime! Then there’s supplements, protein, nut butters…health food shops can be dangerous territory for us – we would love to buy everything but sadly our laser cards aren’t up to those kind of work outs!
The important thing to remember is that exercise is essentially free – you just have to be a bit more creative if money is your biggest obstacle. Once you have the basics (good runners, some gear and a sports bra) then you CAN workout regularly – despite what certain magazines and social media bloggers want you to believe! OK you may not be able to do regular Pilates classes or track your exact calories burnt on a fancy sports watch but you can still get in some good quality work outs!
Walking, running and cycling are all free forms of exercise (once you own a bike & helmet obviously) and many people enjoy these forms of exercise every week. If getting outdoors is a challenge then try investing a small amount of money in creating a little home gym. Stores like Argos & Lidl do cheap but good quality fitness equipment that wont break the bank – a skipping rope, kettle bell and yoga mat can set you up to do a lot of different workouts in your spare room or bedroom.
Also, as mentioned above, you can use what you have at home whether its your front step or a chair! Fitness DVDs can also be a good way to have the ‘fitness class experience’ in your own home – Amazon have a good range from Zumba to aerobics – google a few and see what appeals to you.
How to exercise if…you hate exercise!
Let’s face it exercise can make us feel amazing but some of the time (and for some people a lot of the time!) its just not fun. If you find that you dread exercise time and are counting down the minutes then there are some things you can do to make it more enjoyable.
1. Try doing shorter sessions more regularly so that you’re not slogging away on a treadmill for an hour and losing the will to live (five minutes seems so short until you’re on a treadmill!!)
2. Try to pick forms of exercise you enjoy whether its Zumba (if you like dancing) or spinning (if music gets you pumped up). Also try to remind yourself of all the benefits of your workout and focus on how you will feel after – more energetic, stronger and more upbeat. Also focus on the long term benefits such as better quality of sleep or concentration or more confidence in your appearance.
3. Try to shift how you think about exercise from being a boring chore to something that you need – and want – to do. Focus on how you will feel afterwards and the positive benefits regular exercise will bring to your life. Often the thinking about something is the worst part so the best way to approach exercise…in the words of Nike..is just do it!
You’ll never regret doing a work out, we promise!!!
We hope that you take away a few tips from this. We would love to hear your own tips or your feedback so feel free to drop us a comment anytime on the Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/sheisme.ie .If you found this article useful then please share it on your own Facebook page too and help us reach more readers!
S & F xx