Believe me, I get it moms … sometimes it’s nice to be alone! Like the 30 minutes before the family starts to wake up and it’s just you and your cup of coffee. Or those times when you have a few minutes to kill before school’s out with nothing to do but sit in your car and scroll through videos on Instagram. Heck, sometimes it’s as simple as a bathroom all to yourself. Alone can be bliss.
Exercising alone can be nice too - the day’s stress can magically disappears with a good song and a tree lined street to run down.
But let’s face it, exercising can be hard to prioritize, especially with a long list of other things on your to-do list. Often, stepping onto that tree lined street gets put in the “later” pile… indefinitely. Especially if you have to go it alone.
Enter the running buddies, the sweat sisters, the fitness friends, the exercise allies, otherwise known as the people you wouldn’t dare let down by NOT showing up for your scheduled workout. Maybe it's one person who's on the same schedule and life-pace as you or perhaps you have a small group of friends who have a standing (or should I say walking) date. Whatever your buddy system looks like, it's made up of exercise-leaning people who are especially good at motivating you (or badgering you till you say yes) to join them even when the sky is dark and your body is tired. These are the people who are also counting on you to get them through the next few miles and they won’t let you live it down if you flake.
If all your current friends start muttering about errands whenever you suggest a hike, it may be time to join a fitness group like We Fit Moms, start asking around at your local running store about meet ups, or start stalking that mom at drop off who's always wearing workout pants and a flushed expression.
Getting into a routine with friends can enhance your workout by taking your mind off the harder moments, inspiring you to set bigger goals, and by helping you stick to a program. A run is far more fun when you can swap stories, laugh at bad jokes, or enjoy a great view together. In the end, a little alone time is nice but a conversation-packed morning workout with friends can be therapeutic.
For every excuse not to exercise, there’s a creative solution to doing it anyway!
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 1000 times, “I just don’t have time to exercise!” But really, do you let your kids get away with “I just don’t have time to clean my room!” or “I just couldn’t fit in taking a shower”? Just like basic hygiene and homework time, it needs to be part of your routine. Whether it’s a one hour yoga class or a 15 minute walk in your neighborhood – you need to SCHEDULE IT!
Avoid the wishy-washy and the mamby-pamby. Leaving it up to your mood in the morning, the way the rest of the day pans out, or the alignment of the stars in just plain sabotage. Put it on your wall calendar, store it in the Cloud, or write it on the dry erase board on the fridge. Whatever you do, put it on your schedule and stick to it.
Your workout can be anything. If you have a little time before the kids wake up to lift some dumb bells and stretch, there’s your appointment. If you just adore the new dance-fit app, make it a recurring date! If your only opportunity to exercise is a walk in the neighborhood with the kids and the dog in tow, take it (and maybe throw in some squats at every stop sign).
Remember to be realistic. Overscheduling will surely lead to defeat. If two days a week is all you can muster, then start there. Once the routine sets in, maybe you’ll add another day. In fact, if all you have is a 10 minute window mid-morning, then throw on your walking shoes and go 5 minutes down the street and five minutes back.
But here’s the catch, you need to mark it in pen! It is not an option, it’s a must. Think of it as a meeting with your boss that you can’t cancel (and by your boss I mean your butt). If all you do is put on your stretchy pants and sneakers the first time, so be it. Next time, you’ll make it all the way down the block. If you add an extra day then bravo for you. But treat it like icing on the cake – it enhances, but doesn’t replace, your scheduled days.
Hey life happens and avoiding rigidity is healthy, but in the early days of establishing an exercise routine having a plan and sticking to it is the key to success. I mean, really, if your kids said they only wanted to brush their teeth on Thursdays and only if the weather was good what would you say?
So make an appointment with your fitness, your “boss” will thank you!