I love to exercise but am far from super fit. It’s taken a while to work out ways to fit some exercise in my days with full time work, part-time studies, small children, a husband away at least every second week and no granny around the corner. And I’m not keen on paying a lot for eg memberships that I often can’t use, you know, hubby away or me or the kids sick. And no, taking my kids to a play area of a gym after a long day at daycare is not for me. We often only have about 3 hours before they go to bed so that time I want to spend together.
Of course, one can be active with children, and I like to take mine swimming, ice skating, bike riding, walking in the nature or up a mountain etc. It is affordable, fun and I hope my children will learn to enjoy doing things. But to me it is not quite the same mentally nor physically as exercising just for me.
But I’ve found slots of time that work pretty well:
I mostly ride my bike to work, since we moved that is 12 kms a day. When I don’t do that, I make sure I walk part of the distance, at least 30minutes a day (and then hop on a bus), but often about 50min (because there is a hidden free parking place 25 minutes walk away from my work). Having the breather, the few minutes between the noise and people of my work and family time, does wonders to my head.
One of the first ways to sneak in more exercise in my daily life was when a group of friends, all mums too, had an fb group where we used to throw in challenges for each other. You know the online type, planking or squatting for 30 days. It was fun and that got me doing something most days. Focusing so much on the same muscle actually made a difference and as I noticed my ability improve I longed for more diverse exercise.
I dug my old exercise equipment out (there’s enough, even an exercise bike), found online good home exercise programmes and got a habit of doing something most nights after I put kids to bed. I even participated in a virtual boot camp by Karen at OnBalance. The support and reminders in the fb group where great in getting a habit!
But I longed for more. I seem to be slightly lazier at home… Last winter a new gym, fitness24seven, opened almost next door to us. It only cost 19,90e a month! So cheap that even if I go only on the weeks my husband is home it is worth it. As we take turns to put kids to bed, I started going to the gym when my husband started to read for our children. The gym is ok. As it is cheap there is staff only for a few hours during the day, and I don’t think cleaners tidy the changing rooms every day but the fitness areas are clean and have all I need. Also, as it is a chain, I’ve been able to go to another facility right next to my work sometimes, when eg my husband takes kids to their hobby. Or when he is away, if I finish slightly earlier I have time for that before I pick up the kids. To me gym workouts balance well out my bike riding to work. Gym is also easy as it is not tied to a schedule but you can let yourself in whenever it suits you.
I have always enjoyed swimming too. It is easy, you can go when it suits you and it is cheap. But to only do that won’t do, I get bored in 30 minutes. I can prolong that if there’s a friend who comes aqua running with me. I even tried a water exercise class – and enjoyed it but can’t commit to another fixed time on a regular basis.
Getting bored seems to be something I do easily with one type of exercise, I seem to need the change and variation. I like the gym but I have no interest in going there more than 1-2 times per week. I still use “the home gym” once or twice a week when my husband is away but every night gets boring…
I was pretty excited when a couple of months ago I was asked to join a floorball team. It’s for people that haven’t played floor ball for 10-15 years, are preferably a bit overweight or at least some what unfit but want to have fun playing rather than compete. Check check check. I haven’t played since I finished my studies a lifetime ago but this team is so much fun! Every time I’ve been utterly exhausted afterwards. We rent a gym hall in a nearby school and the cost divided between us players is about 15e/ month. The tricky part is that every second week I am not able to go but as this is just for fun, the others are ok with that.
One reason why I enjoy floorball so much is that due to a couple of foot injuries I haven’t been able to run for a couple of years but you can’t play the game without running. Running used to be my main way of managing stress, so I’ve missed it a lot. I tried a few times but every time the pain came back. I thought my running days were over. But as my foot held up playing floor ball I had to try running again. Can you imagine what an euphoric feeling it was to be able to run for half an hour without pain for the first time in about two years?!!
So nowadays I have a fair variation of exercise, which feels good for body and mind, only the floorball has a fixed time but the others i can do after bedtime or if my children are at their hobby/ friends. My options are pretty cheap so if sometimes I can’t go or am too tired for it, I don’t feel i should because of the money I’m spending.
So on the weeks my husband is home I typically sneak out to the gym, a run, a swim, the floorball or an odd exercise class here and there when it is his turn to put the kids to bed.
What do you enjoy and how do you create the time for physical exercising in your busy life?