If you’ve ever lost weight (and most of us mommies have!) you know that finding the balance to keep that new, leaner weight is like starring in your own private Indiana Jones sequel, full of all the running, jumping, heavy lifting, sweating, and panic of the original. In fact, current research shows that the average person must exercise vigorously for one hour each day to maintain a healthy weight. This is especially important if you’ve lost weight and want to keep it off.
So how can you get that hour of daily exercise when kids, work, dog, sisters, housekeeping, shopping, friends and the fall TV line-up are all beckoning?
You CAN get more exercise. So you’re already working out a few times per week? You can get more exercise. You run every morning? You can get more exercise. You don’t have to train for a marathon. You don’t have to suffer through 3-hour gym sessions (unless you like that sort of thing). You don’t even have to get the entire hour all at once.
Here are 10 ways to get MORE exercise into your day, your life & your family’s life:
You may grimace at the sight of morning joggers, especially as temperatures are dropping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a 10-minute sun salutation or spend 15 minutes doing some strength training to wake up your muscles and rev your metabolism.
Everyday activities like walking, housework and gardening can really add up to burn more calories than the average workout. Walk to mail your letters, pick up coffee or grab a few groceries. Try designating errands to certain days to ensure you get out and walk daily!
This one is great for you and the kids! Little babies can be pressed in the air, swung or rocked. Older babies and young kids can bounce on your legs, ride on your back or simply wrestle! Older kids love practising sports skills and gymnastics. If your heart rate is up and you’re having fun, you’re exercising!
Boot camp and kickboxing are great, challenging options and can really kick your morning off – often they are offered as early as 6:00 a.m. so you can work out and still get the kids off to school. Or try a yoga or pilates class in the evening – much more fun than primetime TV and good for you, too!
You’ve heard it before, right? Especially if you live in a high rise or work in a tower, taking the stairs instead of the elevator each day amounts to a serious calorie burn and some great toning for the lower body, without hitting the gym! When you’re at home, take a break a few times each day to run your own stairs for a minute or two and get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
So an hour of computer solitaire won’t cut it, but why not invest in a Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect or Playstation Move and have a fun rainy day option for family exercise and entertainment? When you’re playing virtual tennis or jumping over virtual waterfalls, you won’t even notice the time pass and, before you know it, you’ve been moving for an hour... or maybe two or three on a weekend!
Kids need daily exercise, too! Try to visit the playground for 20-30 minutes each day before or after dinner. Stay off the bench and climb, slide and swing with your kids. Or perform step ups, push ups and squats on the bench when they don’t need your supervision.
There are plenty of home exercise videos – whether DVD, on cable TV or live streamed off the internet. Being able to pause allows you to break the workout into manageable chunks. Look for videos that offer shorter workouts of 5, 10, or 20 minutes in addition to longer videos so you’ve got lots of options & no excuses to skip a workout.
If you’ve been thinking about it, if your kids are asking for it, if you’re a dog person at all, get a dog. Dog owners are far more active than those who own smaller pets, and research shows that kids who have dogs are more active as well! Adopt a dog or buy a puppy and clip on your pedometer – watch your steps skyrocket!
Each weekend, try to plan a hike, swim, bike ride, ski trip or even tobogganing date! You’ll definitely get more than your required hour of exercise & build great traditions for your little ones at the same time.
When it comes to your health, some things are best in moderation... like cupcakes. And Shiraz. Not so for exercise. If you want to be fit, exercise is definitely best in high doses.