So you’ve had a child and realized its time to put your hard partying ways behind you and get a little more fit. Good for you! Staying active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and your family. It’s hard trying to keep up with your child when you’ve got that extra spare tire hanging around and haven’t ran so far as to the refrigerator for another piece of cake in the last 5 years. I’m no fitness expert, but I have been in your shoes and decided to get with the program. So though my advice isn’t backed with years of scientific research, fitness isn’t rocket science. I’ve got years of proof riding on my side though and I know the rewards of being physically fit enough to chase your child at the park in a game of tag, or playing follow the leader, going on a hike, a family walk, or riding bikes together. It seems like “hey, anyone can do those things”, but believe it or not, there was a time where I couldn’t. I remember working myself up to my first mile, and running it in almost 14 minutes. Now I waiver around a close seven or eight. That’s some improvement. I feel better, look better, and am doing my part to stick around for a long time for my family.
People always ask me how much exercise they need and how often they should do it. The easiest answer I have been able to come up with is doing some form of exercise every day. Anything that makes your heart beat faster, and your breathing heavier is exercise. Yes, even that. From everything I have read 30 minutes a day is a great place to start. It doesn’t mean jogging for miles if you hate jogging though. Turning exercise into activities you love makes all the difference. If you don’t like running, try bike riding, try to find ways to make your ordinary activities more vigorous. Yard work can count towards your daily exercise, going on a walk with your family, even gardening can become an aerobic task if you make it that way. If you set aside 30 minutes for exercise, it encourages your family to take part as well. That is a great habit to get everyone into and a wonderful way to spend time together. Alternatively, if you take a class, or go to the gym, it can give you some much needed “alone time” and decompression that is paramount in being a great parent. It’s a win-win situation.
Now, most people, regardless of what they say, won’t like exercise at first. Your body is going to go kicking and screaming into telling you that you would rather eat an entire pizza than walk on a treadmill for thirty minutes. It takes some time and effort, but it is worth it. Start a routine and stick to it. Even when you are tired, and especially then, hit the bricks, as exercise creates more energy. Make exercise a priority, and don’t feel like you are being selfish. You want to be healthier for yourself, but also your family. Exercise has been proven to be some of the best preventative medicine for disease, so what do you have to lose, other than a few pounds? Eventually you will start feeling like your day isn’t complete without the exercise. That’s when you know you’ve really won. You’ve convinced your body it’s what you need daily, after all, it IS what you need daily.
Here are a few tips to get your started. If you were looking for the sign that “today is the day”, consider this your sign!
- Any activity is better than none. Even a few minutes is a good start. Stay positive, stick with it and get moving. If seven days a week is too overbearing, try for at least five.
- Take it slow. Find activities you love and implement them into your workout plan. Skateboarding, surfing, tennis, basketball, are all great forms of exercise. Playing at the park with your child is another great exercise. #0 minutes of chasing them around and you will be sweating more than any gym session.
- Have a reset button. If you miss a day or two, don’t give up. Start again as soon as you can. Fitness will be there waiting.
- Try to make your entire day more active. Park further away in the parking lot when you go to the store, take the stairs, walk to the corner store instead of drive, etc.
- Find people to exercise with. There are families that walk together on our street, and it seems like that’s a great way to stay motivated. If you are bored, find a friend!
- Make sure you warm up before you get into strenuous activity. The best warm up is a slower version of whatever it is you are doing. For example before a hard bike ride, take a real slow pace. Walk slowly before a hard run, and so on.
- If you have never done any sort of exercise, check with your doctor beforehand. You don’t want a history of heart problems, or high blood pressure setting you back and making exercise dangerous for you.
- Pay attention to your body! If you start to feel faint, sick, or sore, take a break, or stop completely. If you feel extremely sick, see a doctor!