On any given day, I’m asked to do roughly 12 million things. That’s not an official number, but anyone who has ever been pulled in multiple directions — kids, work, errands, volunteer obligations, appointments, spouse, cooking, cleaning — knows that it can feel like that by the end of the day.
When I started my career as a middle school teacher 10 years ago, I fell into an exercise rut. I was too tired to exercise in the morning and too burnt out to even think about it by the end of the day. I found myself running out the door with coffee, working through lunch, driving thru for dinner and waking up to do it all over again the next day.
While I don’t teach anymore, there is one habit from those days that I still carry with me: exercise.
Around the second semester of my first year of teaching, I started waking up at 4:30 a.m. to squeeze in a workout in the living room of my 900-square foot apartment (apologies to my downstairs neighbors). Friends thought I was crazy, but it improved my mood and energy and gave me a head start on healthy choices for the day.
Now a decade, career change, husband, two kids and four PCS moves later, I still exercise almost daily. If I can beat the excuses, so can you — let’s start by squashing the most common reasons for skipping your next sweat session.
- No time. We are all busy, but we make time for our priorities. Carving out 20 or 30 minutes to get your heart rate up is all you need. That’s one TV show. That’s working out while dinner is in the oven. When exercise is a priority, you find time you never knew you had.
- No motivation. My kids are my reason for pretty much everything I do, and exercise is no exception. I want them to create healthy habits, I want to maintain my own health so I can keep up with them, and — yes — sometimes I exercise to relieve a little mom stress.
- No gym membership. You don’t need to be a card-carrying gym member to get a good workout. Go for a walk or a run. Work out in your living room. Or, if you prefer the gym atmosphere, you’re in luck — use your installation fitness center for free!
- No workout buddies. Military spouses are pretty good at powering through the awkward stage of friend making, so put your talent to work to find a workout buddy. Look for running and walking groups near your installation or show up for a group fitness class on your installation. And, as a mom, my two favorite workout buddies are always up for jumping jacks or to “coach” me.
- No idea what you’re doing. I really feel like I can learn anything with a few minutes and a YouTube video. You can find free workouts online, free tips and even your own personal health and wellness coach through Military OneSource.
Make this the year you start looking forward to exercise instead of dreading it because it’s just one more thing to do. You already have everything you need to make it happen – and now you have five less excuses not to start.