The running shoes are back on - again! Every single book I read on depression/anxiety mentions exercise as imperative to recovery. I have laughed every time I've read that, since I have approximately ZERO time to go for hot-jiggety walks, no money for a gym membership or dance class and roughly NO motivation to do exercise!
Why is exercise so hard to do on your own?
I realised I needed a group of like-minded ladies to keep me accountable and to motivate me to get started on an exercise routine.
Walking around a track locally was my first idea - but I wasn't able to get anyone to join me regularly and eventually I was 'too busy' to go on my own.
Then, when I was scrolling Facebook instead of exercising one day, I saw that someone had shared a post by a blogger at Stay Strong Mummy. She's a Mum of three and one of those fitnessy-types - but she found things a little different when she had her children and she couldn't keep up with her fitness routine! She found that doing 3 x 15 minute workouts was enough to keep her sane, healthy and fit.
I had read a similar idea in Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett - quick bursts of intense exercise are better for you (and easier for busy Mums!), than long walks or 45 minute workouts, etc.
Combine that with my friend having a great Michelle Bridges workout with a step and my brain went into gear with an idea to get myself and maybe some friends into doing some regular exercise.
Hence, FitMamas was born!
Twice a week last term, my friends at school and I meet to do a quick 15-minute exercise of our own design. Some of us use an app, others (like me), use a messy mix of ideas from magazines, Michelle Bridges and Trim Healthy Mama! We all do the same thing in one regard, though: we workout intensely - not crazily pushing ourselves to the point of pain or sore muscles - just keeping our heart-rates up.
It's been great. My mental health has greatly improved, along with a tuning up of our family diet and some lessons learned from therapy. I noticed I was stronger physically and I toned up a bit, too - for only 30 minutes of exercise a week! Working out with friends is fun and the only thing it costs us is time.......it's a bargain!
I found that within 8-10 weeks, I was able to do my workout much easier. I was able to plank for longer and do more intense lunges. A few times I pushed it too hard and was hobbling about like a hobo for a day or two!
But now, after three weeks of school holidays and *ahem* - no working out - I'm feeling it mentally and physically. I can't wait to get back to the school to jump and hoon around with my Mummy friends!
Here's one version of my workout:
20 x tap heel onto step, alternating legs
20 x tap heel onto step, across body
20 x steps straight up onto step, alternating legs
45 sec plank
20 x lunges (jump lunges as I got stronger)
20 x squats (adding in a kick on one leg, alternating sides with each squat as I got stronger)
repeat first three exercises
stretch to warm down
It took me 12-14 minutes to complete at first, but as I got better it took just 11 minutes! This term, my aim is to start keeping a record of my times so I can see my improvement over the term.
What do you do to keep fit? For a highly motivated person in a lot of other areas, it's weird that I have struggled so much with exercise/fitness. But Stay Strong Mummy, THM and Michelle Bridges have been a light-bulb for me!
Check out Stay Strong Mummy for ideas on workouts and healthy eating. She's brilliant. And let me know what you think!
Sending you hugs for health :) x