There came a day when I had to admit: I hate exercising. The exercisers and instructors, I did not hate. They seemed so passionate about their fitness goals! It was the actual coordinated movement that was similar to my revulsion of Brussel sprouts that I hated.
Instead of giving up movement altogether and becoming a couch potato, I had to ask myself, “Self, what is it that really makes you not exercise day-to-day?”
Waking up early.
Putting on special clothes.
Feeling overwhelmed by all the options.
Creating goals to beat.
Seeing a lack of results after one near-death cardio experience.
What do I do on the daily? I run a business from home. (Not actually running, like for a marathon or new pace record.) I am a Mom to three kids. (Who no longer run around, needing me to chase them as my daily exercise.) I am a wife. (There is an exercise my husband and I like to partake in, but that’s not exactly getting done on the daily, if you know what I mean.) I keep up our home. (Translate “keep up” loosely into, “I run the dishwasher and press clean on the Roomba.”)
I started to be conscious of how I moved my body during the day.
Lunges around the house going from room to room collecting toys made a few cellulite dimples vanish. Score! Squats at the kitchen sink while washing fruit, scrubbing pans, and washing dishes had me seeing results in my glutes. Play time with my kids became more aggressive as I joined my son in dribbling the ball up and down the driveway, never letting him win easily in a game of one-on-one. I jogged with our dogs on a little trail behind our house instead of holding them back on their leashes when they wanted to pick up the pace. When I would find myself angry with someone, I would do jumping jacks while letting the wind of my rapid movement drown out the groans of the situation. The city playground became an obstacle course that I didn’t take a sideline to when my kids would play. Hiking is something I pushed myself to do with three little ones and it is definitely our favorite group exercise!
Consulting others, my friend Melina had this great tip: “Before you hop in the shower, blast your music and dance until you are sweaty, throwing in tons of squats! Fun and gets in the cardio! #bathroomdanceparty.”
What I noticed more than anything was an increased confidence, knowing that I could do hard things that my mind did not want to do. I was taking care of myself and truly, the physical results weren’t what I was after. The fitness app tracking my every move was hitting the top percentages daily. Energy was more stable throughout the day without crashes. I sat around less and found joy in breaking a sweat.
Things that didn’t work:
Ignoring that nutrition played a leading role in energy levels.
Waving my arm around to trick the Apple watch into thinking I was moving.
Being negative/comparing myself with Moms that did all the fitness things.
Following Instagram fitness gurus while eating fudge cookies.
Coordinating what I do daily with what wasn’t working, plus admitting that I really do have some physical goals, was the start of an “Ah ha!” moment for exercising. This was a process that either seems complicated or incredibly simple. Five seconds into thinking, “How the heck will I make it a daily routine to move my body?,” I realized, that’s it — I just needed to move! (And all the fitness instructors with degrees and certificates can now groan at my simplification.)
It had been seven years since I was a member at a gym. Six years since I joined a group exercise class. Signing up for a gym membership wasn’t going to make me love exercise any more. Truly wanting to be a fit positive Polly, I decided to make exercise work for me.
Goal: move my body every day. Mission: accomplished.
The no-exercise freeze of six years came to a halt when I didn’t search out 30 spare minutes of my day for a regimented exercise program. Instead, I found daily chunks which led to an overall good day of movement. Now I feel equipped to pursue something I always loved, but did not take the time for because I wasn’t “perfect” at it: yoga! Not only is yoga great at strengthening my body and mind, but it’s also a self-care moment that I pencil in for 20 minutes several times a week. An app made it super easy for beginner yoga when I once again found myself frozen in moving forward, thinking I had to make it to yoga classes somewhere.
If you are looking for group exercise for community and professional instruction, don’t just take my tips; local groups like Fit4Mom Chattanooga are ready to meet you where you are whether you’re pregnant, have a baby in the stroller, or are looking to get your body back (overall health) post-baby. Paddleboard yoga is something that is fun and a great workout, especially if you like to be outdoors! I’ve gone out with my friend, Katie Delaney, and she loves to do group classes with her River Yogis! Going to the Chickamauga Battlefield you can find plenty of bike trails and hikes perfect for a Mom!