Thursday, April 05, 2012

Q&A Thursday: Fitting in Exercise

Today's question is from Shannon:

When do you find time to work out? We have 4 kids and swear they hear the treadmill turn on and everyone needs something right now!
Shannon, I hear you! I have four preschoolers right now and it's hard enough keeping up with the house and the laundry and things that can more easily be interrupted, much less try to exercise for a decent amount of time.

My favorite time to exercise is first thing in the morning. Get it done and out of the way, shower away the sweat, and then move on. Unfortunately, that's not a time that works for me very often. When I'm already waking at night with a baby, I just cannot force myself out of bed any earlier than our 6:45 family scripture study time. Over the years, I've tried -- I keep thinking that I just need more will-power or dedication! But no matter how much dedication or will-power I throw at it, unless I'm sleeping soundly through the night, I can't wake up early.

Last year at this time, I found the best time for me to exercise was during quiet time and naptime. My kids were used to my unavailability during that time since I had been using it to nap (Katie didn't sleep through the night until about ten months old). Once Katie was sleeping well, it was so easy to use that time for exercise -- and it didn't even feel like a sacrifice because those hours were gifts I hadn't had before. My husband works from home about half the time so if he was home, I got to run out on the streets. When he wasn't home, I used the treadmill.

When summertime came, I was pregnant so those afternoon hours were needed again for rest. It was also too hot in the afternoon for outdoor running. I moved my exercise time to the morning and got it in before the kids woke up.

Right now, mornings are out because Cami's waking at night and afternoons are out for the same reason. So I go in the evening. I shoot for 8:00. All the little kids are in bed by then and the house should be calm (but not always -- sometimes I feel like I'm abandoning a sinking ship when I leave to meet my running partner). Other nights, I go at 9 or even 9:30. One night, I even went at 10:30 because that's what time it was when I finally got the laundry folded and Cami settled down. It's not ideal, but it's working. Late evenings are when my family needs me least, so that's when I go.

Three things are really helping me stick to it:

1. I don't skip any days except Sundays. I've made a commitment to do at least fifteen minutes a day. I find the hardest part is just getting started. Knowing all I "have" to do is fifteen minutes helps me get going. Once I'm out running or walking or doing a video, I usually do more than fifteen minutes.

2. I've found it motivating to have an event on the calendar. I know if I don't get in the training, I won't be ready. And I hate wasting money, so once I've paid for something, I want to make sure I get my money's worth out of it.

3. I have an awesome running partner this time. We can't do all our runs together, but we're meeting often enough to keep each other motivated. And a good hour's conversation means I hardly notice my protesting muscles.

What have you done to make exercise a priority? When do you fit it in? How do you make it work with young kids?


swedemom said...

I needed this today. Great response!

jenifer said...

oh, my lazy bones...

Stef said...

I am so with you. I have set a time every morning. Idealy it would be more than 15 minutes, but I have told myself that something is better than nothing. If I don't get it done in the morning, sadly it won't happen.

Mama Rachel said...

I had to sign up for a class that I pay for. I could exercise at home, but I still need the added accountability. I take a Zumba class at a small yoga place, and enjoy it so much! I do it because I want to be fit and healthy, but it's just so fun I can't wait to go!

I am spoiled because I have built-in babysitters. That really helps! :-D

DinaJ said...

I wrote a really lengthy response last night, but it's not here! Basically I said that I joined a gym when my twins were young. It was expensive and I had to pay for the childcare X2, but everyone was happy. We had an activity every day to look forward to and I enjoyed the hour to myself.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone!! I SO appreciate your response and the ideas from other readers.

My sister and I are planning to meet up in UT in May to run the Pound the Pavement for Parenthood 5K. Knowing she'll be there running faster than me has kept me running to get ready! =)

It's good to know how it works for others and hopefully I can get some more of these ideas going!



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