Fit Bits

Of the three pillars of wellness, physical well-being is probably the most obvious one to many. And yet for so many mums, it’s very easy to put on the backburner.

How many times a week/month/year do you spend on the sidelines of your offsprings’ various sporting activities? Lots I bet. So instead of talking the talk, try and walk it too. Show your kids that physical activity, like learning, is a lifelong habit that’s not just important during the formative years.

Here’s some simple starters:

  • Gnarly housework – the chores we love to put off, windows, ovens, ceilings, digging the vege garden over. Chores that require elbow grease. Never underestimate how an hour’s hard labour will benefit your biceps.
  • Killing time – we live out of town so sometimes I end up sitting in the car for ages as the kids train for various activities. At 14, they don’t really want you track side correcting their technique so make sure you’ve got a pair of sneakers in the boot and get walking.
  • Water works – I’m not much of swimmer but rather than watching the boys at swim training, I do a bit of aqua jogging with a friend. Even when we don’t feel like it, we always feel good afterwards. Don’t worry about how you look – no one can see what your legs are doing underwater anyway!
  • The hard option – take the stairs instead of the lift, park half a block away from work and take the park the furtherest away from the front door at the supermarket.
  • Get walking – start small. Walk around the block, then keep extending your walks by 5 minutes each time. Pump your arms as you go.
  • Shifting up a gear – if you’re short on time, try jogging. Again, start small (15-20 minutes) then build it up. Stretch first – none of us are 15!
  • Set goals – to stay motivated, sign up for an event. Scary at first but it keeps me going, especially during winter down south. There are often 5 or 10km options and then there are stacks of longer endurance type events if you get hooked. The most I’ve done is a half marathon. You meet the nicest people along the way – I’ve run with emergency nurses, hard case book club members and a woman returning to exercise after 15 years raising a family.
  • Scenic routes – look out for events in your area. Some might be just for mums, some you might be able to do with your kids. Locally, I love the Coastal Classic , a fundraiser for the Taieri Beach community, the Peninsula Challenge which offers stunning coastal views via private farmland and The Catlins Coastal Challenge, another community fundraiser and a great family event with run and cycle options available.
  • Harden up – speaking of southern winters, it’s hard to keep up fitness routines as the days get shorter and cooler. Invest in a pair of leggings and a light weight, water proof coat. No excuses then!
  • Weights – balance cardio with weight resistance work. I’m losing tone in my arms so borrow my son’s hand weights and try to do bicep curls and tricep dips daily. Doesn’t take long.
  • Stretch it – Yoga is a great option for ongoing suppleness. It’s a form of exercise that’s not weather dependent, requires very little investment in gear and is sustainable as it’s not hard on your joints.
  • Pair up – I enjoy running on my own but prefer walking with a friend. It’s a good chance to blow off the cobwebs, have a laugh and reconnect.  Leave the phones at home.
  • Holidays – don’t stop physical activity when you’re away. If anything, you should have more time! Ask locals or accommodation providers where the local walking tracks and parks are.

I’ve never spent heaps of money on gear and expensive gym memberships are not an option. That’s why I like running – all I need is a pair of sneakers and I can do it anywhere. Hopefully something on the list inspires!




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