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Exercise requires creativity

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Dear Mom's Corner,
In your article about New Year's resolutions, you mentioned doing more walking. Do you mean like a regular exercise program? How do you find time to do it? I have three young children and never seem to have time to exercise, but I would really like to. Do you have any suggestions?
Dear LBK,
With six children in my home, I understand what you mean about never finding time to exercise. (Although, taking care of children is kind of exercise on its own.) Anyway, when I decided I needed to lose weight, I also knew I had to increase my activity level. As I look back now, I can see where I began to take as many shortcuts as possible to avoid extra work. For example, I would let things pileup so I could make just one trip down or up the stairs.
Well, I tried to start an exercise program, but I couldn't consistently find time to do it even twice a week. So I had to come up with another idea. I began to think of extra ways to put more activity into my day. Here's some of the things I try to do:
I try to park toward the back of a parking lot. For example, when I go to Wal-Mart, I park in the back and carry the baby.
I go up the stairs every time I have something to carry, instead of letting it accumulate. I try to use my arms, if possible, in a pumping motion to increase the benefit.
I used to wear ankle weights when I did regular housework. This is still a great idea, but I've had to suspend it because of a sprained ankle. Once my ankle completely heals, I'll start this again.
If I need something from another part of the house, instead of sending one of the kids after it, I do it myself. Again, I try to use my arms in a pumping motion. If I'm going upstairs, I try to increase the speed or intensity.
If I'm just standing and waiting for something to cook or whatever at home, I try to do a few leg lifts.
OK, before you read this one, I'm not crazy and it is effective. Do your kids like watching shows like "The Wiggles?" Now you know where I'm going, don't you? Try singing along and doing the dances. My two-year-old loves it when Mommy joins in! So it looks a little silly. So it looks a lot silly. Close your mini-blinds or your curtains and go for it.
Of course, there are many household duties that are exercise in and of themselves. Raking leaves or push mowing a lawn are a couple that come to mind. However, none of this truly replaces an exercise program and you would be better off to do a regular exercise program. (That's assuming your doctor tells you it's safe for you.) However, realistically I can't. So I do what I can, when I can, to try and stay in shape as much as possible.
Maybe someday I will get into a regular exercise program, but for the meantime, at least I'm doing something.
I also have some suggestions that might help you to work a regular exercise program into your schedule. You could trade off with another mom. She could watch your angels while you exercise and vice versa. There's always exercising before your angels are up for the day or after they're in bed at night or naptime. You could also trade off with hubby every other night. He could put the kids to bed and you could exercise. If your children are three or older, they can be encouraged to let you have your exercise time. Obviously you can't leave them and go for a run, but they could watch a video or play for a half hour while you work out. You can even reward them with things like special story time or a visit to the park.
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