We hear this all the time from friends who are busy with kids’ activities. Parents have hectic schedules. Regardless if we are stay at home parents or work full time out of the home, our kids have after school club activities or sporting events which require transportation, parental involvement, and cheering on. When summer creeps upon us, kids are home from school and our school year routines can go out the window. Sweet summer does not always provide the much-needed break from routine that we expect due to camps, tournaments, and planning for vacations or trips to the beach. Before long, laundry begins to pile up at home and household chores can sometimes get neglected. We are exhausted after running from activity to activity. And then it is time to eat! Busy families need healthy meals and that often calls for meal preparation. We are wiped out at the end of the day, but can toss and turn at night, anxious about the next day’s obligations. Health professionals tell us we need to get a good night’s rest. Yikes! When is there time to exercise?
Unfortunately, finding and scheduling time to exercise frequently falls below the grocery shopping and the countless other errands that need to get done. Many people do not consider finding time to exercise a priority when scheduling their day. It is often the first obligation we omit from our day, in order to make time for other commitments. This can be a dangerous habit to get into, however. When we miss our workouts, we allow stress to build up in our bodies. We can feel guilty about missing a workout. That donut in the office begins calling our name. We feel bad about indulging in a treat or two. A vicious cycle begins when we routinely cut workouts out of our day. If we skip one workout to find more time in our day to get other things “done,” we will likely do it again. Before long, we have missed a week or more of exercise and we feel lousy.
It is important to understand, however, that exercise not only keeps us healthy, it helps give us stamina to get through our busy day. It is one of the best relievers of stress. Exercise helps keep certain diseases away and helps us to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We can often sleep better at night. An excellent benefit of exercise is that it makes us feel great afterwards! After completing a workout, we have done something that is good for ourselves. We need to schedule and make time for ourselves on a daily basis. Nobody else will do it for us. We lead by example. When we take the time to take care of our bodies, our children notice. They will learn that exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. It is an important lesson that they will take with them, as they become adults.
We must remember how many different forms of exercise we can participate in on a daily basis. Personal training sessions at the gym allow for one-on-one customized training. Instructor-led group fitness classes are a great way to get a fun workout in with others. Workouts can happen at home as well. Taking a walk with the family after a busy day is a delightful way to catch up with one another and get a little exercise in for everyone. Bored kids at home can find adventure when a parent goes on a bike ride with them around the neighborhood. A quick game of basketball always turns more fun when mom or dad can join in the fun. If we look at exercise as a wonderful way to reconnect with others and ourselves, we will be less likely to miss another workout because we have no time. Omitting our daily workout from our schedules is one task we cannot afford to continually brush off. Our health depends on it!