Saturday, January 19, 2013

The F Word

FITNESS!   What?  I didn't say it was a four letter f-word...
Many of you out there have kids, some are babies, and some are a bit older. And even if you don't have kids, or your children are adults with families of their own, don't stop reading. This post IS for you!  Fitness is meant for everyone and it is a passion of mine. 

I've talked a lot about healthy eating, shared many recipes, and shared sites that have even more ideas on what to eat.  Now I want to give each of you some ideas on how to fit in a workout and be more active, no matter what your age or stage. There is a way to make it happen! I don't want this post to sound preachy or judge-mental - I only want to motivate, inspire, and give you ideas on how you can become more active in your home.

We live in a day and age where our bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyles have led to an all-time high percentage of adult AND childhood obesity.  If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, etc, there are plenty of pharmaceutical companies lining up to make you a life-long customer.  Don't do it!  Don't even put yourself at risk.  Take care of your body, inside and out, so that you can enjoy life to its fullest.  This includes being around and healthy enough to play with your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Don't wait till next month, or next week, or even tomorrow - start today!  Little changes make a BIG difference. 

Whether you work full-time or part-time, outside of the home or are a stay-at-home mom/dad, it can be very difficult finding time to fit in a workout. We feel pulled in many directions and sometimes don't have the energy or motivation to get moving. That's the funny thing about exercise - it actually gives you more energy. If you can get yourself in a routine of regular exercise, you really will have more energy to do the things you need or want to do.

Regular exercise??? I don't mean an hour of P90X or going to the gym, although those are both great things to do if you can make it happen.  But at this stage in my life, I would have to get a babysitter just to keep up with Tony Horton's demands.  I am talking about fitting a workout in to some of your already established daily routines.   Even if it's only 10 minutes! 10 minutes is better than nothing and doing 10 min 2 or 3 times a day adds up!  Here's a link to a great article by Prevention magazine on 25 ways to fit in 10 min of exercise.

Now let's discuss family fitness, or working out with your children and/or spouse.  Generally speaking, a family walk/run/hike/bike-ride will work for almost any age group.  Get everyone involved!   Here are some more ideas and links to workout with your kids, (and I apologize if any are repeats from the link above).

           - Mommy & me yoga classes - find one in your area or purchase a DVD
           - walking/jogging with your baby in the baby carrier or stroller.  You can even do this inside!  For example, my baby likes to fight sleep.  Instead of battling her today, (and because it was 19 degrees outside), I put her in the baby carrier and walked her around the house.  I was literally doing laps around the first floor of my home, sometimes even jogging.  And to get my heart rate up even further, I started going up and down the stairs, at least 20 times.  This workout lasted about 20 min before she fell hard enough asleep that I could put her down. 
           - weight training using baby as the weight - there are a lot of great moves that you can do, from bench pressing your baby, to cradling him/her in your arms while doing traditional squats and plie squats.  My favorite is holding the baby out in front of you, at shoulder height, then slowly twisting from side to side working your arms, shoulders, and abs.  Again, there are lots of DVDs out there on this. 
           - There are plenty of mommy fitness groups around, such as Stroller Strides and Baby BootCamp.  Research what is available in your town and join one.  You'll meet other moms with babies and have a great time while working out together.
           - Lastly, here are some sites of post-natal workout plans I've found.  Some involve the baby, others don't.  Look through and find one that works for you and your life situation.

            - toddlers love to run around, so run with them!  Play a game of tag or race them and see how quickly you can get your heart rate up.  
             - walk/run to playground then do exercises while their playing - jumping jacks, squats, push ups, exercises using the park benches - you can fit in an entire workout while your kids are going down the slide and occupying themselves. 
             -  teach them how to play different sports - soccer, kickball, any sport that involves movement will get you moving too
              - dance parties...self explanatory
              - Yoga - here is a site that gives different yoga poses that you can do with your children.

Elementary age children-  pretty much anything I listed above, plus at this age, they have already learned to play many different kind of sports and have probably taken a liking to a few in particular.  Hone in on what they enjoy doing and do it with them.  If you have a Wii or Xbox then get one of those exercise games and play with them (Wii fit, dance party, etc).  You'll laugh and burn calories at the same time.

Middle & high school
               - go to the gym and teach them how to properly lift weights (if you yourself know how to do so with proper form). consult a doctor first to find out what is appropriate for your child's age group and/or consult with their physical education teacher.  Many P.E. classes are lifting weights by 9th grade.
               - take an exercise class together - take them to the gym, speak with an instructor, and find a class that they can do with you.  If they like to dance, then take a Zumba or Hip Hop dance class.
               - Again, find out what kind of sports they like play and play with them.  Be active together.

Kid free- no excuse! If you are single, married with no kids, your kids are grown, or you are retired, then you NEED to find the time.  You don't have to chase after anyone, or worry about bedtimes, (except your own), so get moving!!!  Heck, showering is a commodity in my house, so take advantage of your current life situation and BUILD THE TIME for a healthier you.

I would love to hear back from you.  I want to hear your ideas on how to become more active and the things you are doing in your healthy home.

As always, happy cooking! (and exercising)

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