Wake up, shower, make lunches, get kids up, make breakfast, get kids out the door, clean up after the kids, take the dog out, feed the cat and dog, don’t forget to clean the litter, make the beds, kiss the husband, pack my lunch, set the provisions out for dinner later, head to work… All before 8 a.m. Now spend eight hours at work, rush home for kids, make dinner, take kids to swim lessons, help with homework, give kids showers, set clothes out for tomorrow, tell kids a story (I make up their bedtime stories, so this can take a while some nights), put kids to bed, spend some time with the husband, go to bed only to wake up and do it all over again.
Does any of this sound familiar? I didn’t even include when the laundry needs to be done or the house needs to be cleaned or when appointments need to be made and grocery shopping needs to get done and then there is family time that is a must. And last but certainly not least (because it is really one of the most important items on the list) workout! Gosh, just typing up this rambled list makes me anxious and a bit stressed. My mind is already trying to prioritizing my “get-it-done” list for the week.
About three years ago, my entire schedule was turned upside down, inside out and then flipped back around again. I went back to work and the easy going, fit-it-all in life I had was thrown into chaos. This includes my workout schedule which was perfectly scheduled, my main support system and my stress reliever. After a while I settled into a new routine until my job responsibilities became more. I now look at my workout time in a whole new light; one that may only give me ten to 15 minutes at a time to do something active.
I am an early bird by nature. My built in alarm clock never (OK, rarely) fails me, thankfully! So I capitalize on the weekend mornings and hit the pavement, sometimes my sister will head out on a run with me. But the weekdays are my real struggle. I wish I had a magic wand and “poof!” extra time without sacrificing sleep or family time and obligations. I read somewhere that we all get the same amount of time each day, 24-hours; its how we use it that makes the difference between having 30 minutes to do what we want or not enough time to do anything. I have thought a lot about that little saying and do agree there are certainly time wasters in all schedules, but I also wonder if the person who quoted that has small children with a demanding schedule and values at least six hours of sleep each night…
Regardless, the benefits of adequate exercise each day is essential to living a healthy life. Not to mention it is a great example for the little ones and keeps this hard working mommy from going bat shit crazy sometimes. There are tons of workouts that can be done just about any place and without equipment. “Without equipment” is something that is so appealing to me these days. I am also learning to get along with quick and dirty workouts a few times throughout the day; 10-15 minutes 2 to 3 times per day when I cannot get at least 30 minutes in all at once.
One of my favorite exercises is the wonderfully dreaded burpees! This is a full body experience that works all of your muscles and you don’t need to do a 100 of them at a time, unless you want to of course! The bicycle is great for engaging the abs and working both your six pack and obliques. If the bicycle is not your thing then shore up your core with planks! Planks are wonderful for building strong abs, but they don’t stop there. Plank properly and you will end up strengthening your back, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and arms through many different plank versions.
I never go wrong with squats. This easy up and down exercise can really do wonders for the backside and these can be done throughout the day without feeling like it’s a chore. Bonus! Like the plank there are different versions of squatting that work the lower muscles in your body. When your muscles tire of squatting change it up and start lunging. Walking lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, take your pick and get it done!
I am a big fan of nicely sculpted arms. Right now mine are more like the glop of clay that hasn’t been put on the spinning wheel yet. That’s OK, because I am not afraid of push-ups. Traditional wide grip push-ups will target your chest, but narrow and diamond push-ups will work the triceps. Triceps dips are also effective and can be done at the office right at your desk! For biceps, resistance bands are great, inexpensive and can also be used in so many other exercises. Grab a pair and start curling!
Lastly, get that heart rate up! Go for a speed walk; pound out some butt kickers and high knees. Old fashion jumping jacks also do the trick or spice it up and do a few star jacks, air squats or simply run in place. I once lived for my awesome works and now I am learning to appreciate the time I do have and how I can use it more effectively to get some much needed (and longing for) exercise in. If you are in the time is of essence rush that I am currently faced with, hopefully this short offering of suggestions is just what you needed.
Tara Raj, CPC, CNWC
Green Element Wellness, Inc.