The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
I am guessing that most of us wish that we had the time (or found a way to make the time) to exercise more often. And even though we might belong to a gym- finding the 20 minutes to drive there, arriving at least 5 minutes before the start of the class, taking the class, and then driving the 20 minutes back home takes a sizable chunk out of our day. For me, I find that I can barely squeeze in the hour to work out- so driving to/from a gym makes me throw in the towel (literally) and opt to do nothing at all.
But honestly- there’s no need to join a gym in order to make exercise a part of your life. There’s plenty of ways to exercise at home- you just need to be committed to a routine that works for you. So here are a few tips that are helping me to fit in exercise at home:
1. Dress for Success
As soon as I am up for the day, I put on my workout clothes and sneakers. If I am dressed to exercise- then I feel this constant pull to actually do it. Even if I prioritize a few other things first (like getting my kids off to school), looking down at those workout/yoga pants is a reminder of my commitment to get moving!
2. Consider Investing in Equipment
We invested in a really nice elliptical a while back, justifying the cost by telling ourselves that for the price of two year-long gym memberships, we could have our own gym-quality piece of equipment at home. And then, the darn machine went unused for so long. One way that we forced ourselves to get more use out of it was to move it into our bedroom. We figured if we saw it every day- hopefully we would remember to use it! (And it worked!)
These days the elliptical is down in our finished basement, which is actually a great place to exercise. But what gets me on the machine is the lure of a good book. I can read from my e-reader while working out if I increase the font size of the text. And once I am hooked on a good book- the draw to read another chapter or two is enough to motivate me to get on the machine!
Now keep in mind- you do not need to buy brand new gym equipment from the high end store! Craigslist and Freecycle are great sources for inexpensive or even free treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals. Many with very little wear on them (as people buy these machines with good intentions but end up not sticking with their plan!). I also use a set of hand weights and a soft mat (for sit ups and push ups) in my “home gym”.
3. Go For a Walk
But honestly, when the weather is nice, you don’t need any fancy equipment…. just a good pair of walking shoes and the paved road in front of your home! Walking can be great exercise if you set a pace that keeps your heart rate up- and just about everyone can do it- for free!
I’ve downloaded the Nike Running App (for free!) and even though I am not a runner, it keeps track of the distance I’ve covered, and the time for each mile walked. It motivates me to pick up my pace and walk for longer distances.
4. Make Exercise a Family Activity
I love to go on long hikes in the woods. It combines my favorite things- walking and enjoying nature! But my kids don’t naturally share my enthusiasm for this activity- especially when it means getting up early on a Sunday morning! So my husband and I came up with a way to inspire them to want to join us… and we gave it a name: Sunday Morning Hiking Club! (Because once an event has an official sounding name and a rewards system- I can get the kids to do pretty much anything!).
For every 10 hikes they take with us, they earn a trip to their favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt shop and they can order whatever they want with whatever toppings they would like! Now they actually ask to go hiking each Sunday!
5. Yoga at Home
I also love practicing yoga- for the calm and peace it brings to my mind, for the way it helps me to stretch my muscles and improves my balance. And for several years now I’ve been doing yoga at home using an online yoga studio called yogaglo. For $18 a month, you can stream unlimited yoga classes. They offer classes in 9 different disciplines and at 5 different mastery levels. And there are various class lengths as well- so if I only have time for a 45 minute class, I just choose the type of practice (I am a fan of Vinyasa Flow), and the level (2), and class length- and in seconds, I am in class!
The sessions are filmed at a yoga studio in Santa Monica CA, and the camera is stationed in front of the instructor but towards the back of the room, so you get the benefit of seeing and hearing the teacher, but also of watching other students too. It’s a lot like being in the actual class!
What are your best tips for fitting in exercise at home? Please leave us a comment and share!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me over on GreatFamilyRoadTrips- where I share ideas and itineraries to inspire you to hit the road!