Does Running Around Count? Three Ways to Start Working Out in 2009
by Amy Campbell Smith
A new year is about to dawn and we all know what that means. Resolutions!
For most people this involves list making. The enumeration of things to resolve; formal declarations of will regarding things we feel we should be accomplishing.
As in, the will to exercise regularly.
Exercise is on my list for 2009 and I state it in writing here so that my husband can see it, and with loads of compassion and without a hint of sarcasm, pull it out later as a gentle reminder should my willpower fail me.
The first question I asked myself was: does running around count? Working moms do A LOT of running around. I run my son to school. Then I run to the office. If I leave my desk at lunch, it is to run errands. Then I run reallyreally fast to pick up each boy at their schools and drive across town to pull into the driveway in time for the final stretch of the daily marathon: homework, dinner, baths, dishes, setting out clothes for tomorrow, and so on.
This sure seems like it ought to have cardiovascular benefits to counterbalance the stress of it all, but alas, it does not. I know this because if "running around" counted I'd have legs like Cameron Diaz and the butt of Jessica Biel.
I really would like to have a regular exercise routine. I love yoga. I don't mind the elliptical. I even once forced myself into a (short-lived) running habit. But the question for a working mother is when to fit it in? I'm pretty violently not a morning person, and a.m. exercise would require getting up very, very early to have enough time afterwards to shower and get ready for work. At lunch, by the time I get to the gym and change clothes, I've got 10 minutes before I have to shower and put work clothes back on. And what about my hair? Sweaty roots is not a look I can pull off. In the evening, after the boys have been at school and after-care, I can't take them to the gym playroom. They are tired and hungry and want to go home. I can't pick them up from one care center and dump them in another one while I exercise. Finally, at home after they are in bed, I could jump on the elliptical that is right there - in my house. But gosh that's asking a lot.
However, I must do this for my health, and so I'm searching for what will work for me. Here are three things I think I can work with:
1. Music. Everyone has songs they cannot resist! Music that makes you jiggle in your seat is a good sign. I put a notepad in my purse and started jotting down the peppy songs that make me smile and tap my toe, then put them on my iPod in an exercise playlist. I find it near impossible to do cardio without music that energizes me. Music can make all the difference.