I have been involved with fitness centers for years. I owned and worked daily inside a Curves facility where there was loud music playing all the time. I would dance in the circuit, talk to clients, and do the “two-step” all day and night. I used to dream I was dancing in the circuit.
Now I have my precious Millana. I remember, when she was just a year and half old, and Elmo was her man! That Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law gave us a DVD system for the car, which turned out to be an amazing gift. Whenever we drove, we would watch (well, I listened to) Elmo. She liked to watch the same DVD and had memorized it. She sang and talked along with it, and I smiled the entire time!
One song that stands out is the “Exercise” song.
Elmo and Millana sang it loud, “Exercise, exercise, come on everybody do the exercise!” And when we went home, Millana often would burst into the song while doing squats and sidekicks. I attribute her love for movement and song to the fact that while I was pregnant I was dancing to the music at Curves.
When I went into the center with Millana, a lot of the clients would ask why she loved to exercise so much. My answer was, because it’s fun for her! It’s not a chore, it’s something she enjoys. And to this day, she is still doing her squats and sidekicks, singing and dancing, and loves the Exercise song.
From my experiences, often women will join our gym or start a “program” because they feel bad about themselves or want to lose weight. Low self-esteem is debilitating, and pressure or negativity can put a damper on anything.
I say let’s stop being so hard on ourselves, and move because we are blessed with the ability to do so, because we want to nurture ourselves well, because being active gives us energy–not because there is some pressure cooker telling us to “lose weight.”
Whatever you choose to do for movement/activity, my advice is to make it fun. If you used to love dancing, take a dance class. If nature calls your name, go for a hike. The bottom line is that exercise is essential to our well-being, just like taking a shower or brushing our teeth. So let’s enjoy it!
Below are some more tips to make exercise a part of your life!
Using your environment can be amazing.
Life is busy, and sometimes you just have to find exercises that are both effective and efficient. If you have a packed schedule, try lunging up the stairs, parking in the furthest spot and walking the distance to the door, sitting against your wall to work your thighs, and remember to keep your core muscles isolated all the time. Oh, and never use an escalator or elevator!
Planning really does makes a difference.
If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, you’re definitely not alone. But take a good look at your schedule. Once you map it out clearly, you’ll have a much better picture of where your time is going. If you don’t have a planner or a palm pilot, get one! Even a simple calendar can be extremely effective in seeing the gaps in your time. Perhaps working out on your lunch hour or immediately after the kids go to school can work best? You don’t need to spend hours at the gym, start by moving even just 15 minutes more a day.
Make it a family affair.
If you have young children, take them for walks with you or have a dance party in the house. Crank up the music and get moving for thirty minutes. They’ll love it and it’s a great activity. I have a 2 year old son, and holding him for even 10 minutes and dancing is great for the arms and heart.
Pack and go.
Keep your gym bag packed and in your car. If you always have sneakers or sweats with you, it will serve as a mental reminder to go to the gym. And sometimes if you attach your workouts to trips out, they are much easier to fit in. If you’re driving home from work, stop at the gym on your way home. By having your bag with you, you don’t have to make an extra trip. And if the weather’s nice, you can go for a brisk walk or jog whenever you have the chance, as long as you’re packed.
Remember, change is good! But make sure if your lifestyle or schedule changes, you take your workout with you. Change happens all of the time: when we get a new job, move to a new town, have a baby, enroll our kids in a new after-school activity. Our schedule can change, so it’s important that you make arrangements to keep moving. Planning ahead makes it so much easier.