You know how I was nervous about last month’s focus? Well, I’m really nervous about this month. You see, this month, we’re looking at exercise.
Exercise. We know it’s so good for us. It’s great for our health, our appearance, our wellbeing, our energy levels… Yet it’s so much… effort. It’s so hard to fit it in to our already busy lives. When we have so many demands on our time, exercise, for me at least, definitely falls to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list.
My own exercise history
When I became a mum, I could just about manage to keep exercising. I kept up my gym membership, as I could take Ben swimming there, and Tim really encouraged me to keep going. I went in the evenings once Ben had gone to bed, and that hour or so in the gym a few times a week was so precious to me. It was my ‘me-time,’ and something I could do just for myself. I even committed to running a 5k – an experience which was very different outside than it was on the treadmill!
Then I went back to work. We couldn’t afford the gym membership, and, quite simply, I couldn’t find the time to go. My evenings were taken up with marking and planning, and housework, and church commitments, and all the other things we do. When we moved, it got worse: I was working full time, and any ‘free’ time I had, I wanted to spend with Ben. I did manage to take up running again (it was actually a blogging challenge which forced me to do this), and then I got pregnant with Samuel. My energy levels hit zero, and so did my exercise motivation.
Last summer, I had a short-term gym membership and a few sessions with a personal trainer – again, through blogging. Again, Tim was really supportive, looking after a very fractious Samuel while I went to work out. But it was a 30 minute drive away, and we couldn’t justify the expense of a gym membership.
Exercise: our lowest priority
So it’s hard. I completely understand that it’s hard. Also, I know that it comes in the lowest of our priorities for many of us – because so many other people are dependent us, and so they have to become our priority. I have to put my family, my church community and my work commitments before my own need to exercise – that’s the way it is!
But it’s also an absolute essential. It’s essential for our health, our wellbeing and our energy levels. For many of us, the time to exercise may be the only time we get to focus on ourselves in a day. So this month, I’m challenging you to find forms of exercise which fit into your life and to build them into a routine.
This week, I want you to ask yourself the following questions. I’ll be putting them on my Facebook page as well, so do pop over and join in the discussion there.
Monday: Why do I want to exercise? Identify the benefits that exercise will bring you specifically. It might be so that you are a good role model to your children, so that you are fit enough to run a 10k for charity or so that you tone your mum-tum. There’s no limit to your reasons – in fact, the more reasons, the better!
Tuesday: How much time do I have to exercise, and when can I realistically dedicate that time to exercise? This is a really big one. Look at your weekly schedule. Sit down with your husband or partner and work out two slots in your week when you are going to exercise. If you have time when your children nap or can play independently and you could exercise at home, write it in. Two slots. Minimum half an hour, or four 15 minute slots. But if you can manage more, pop it in!
Wednesday: What kind of exercise do I want to do? This is partly going to be determined by how much time you have. If you’ve only got two half-hour slots to exercise in a week, there’s no point in wanting to do three hour-long exercise classes. It’ll also be dictated by your health and the facilities around you.
Thursday: What kit do I need? I know this sounds vain, but having the right kit really helps me to exercise. Now that we’ve sorted out our wardrobes, I have two piles in one drawer with two complete exercise kits – sports bra, leggings, top, socks, knickers… It does make it easier! Matalan have some really affordable kits at the moment in the UK.
Friday: What could I achieve by the end of June? Set yourself a short-term goal. This should be a goal that you think you could achieve by the end of the month. You will probably need to actually do some exercise to find out what you’re capable of! For me, I’m going to be able to run 5k without stopping. I want to run 10k by the middle of August and I can currently only run about 2.5km before I need a breather!
Saturday: Find a way to track your progress. This might be an app on your phone or just a list in your diary. Writing it down and seeing how far you’ve come is a brilliant way to improve and to motivate yourself.
This would be a great month to join our Facebook group. The discussion is just getting going on this topic and we’re all going to motivate each other. Pop your email into the Organised Life Project list below and you’ll get an invite.