When considering what it means to lead a productive life, I cannot imagine omitting exercise from the equation. For me, exercise is cyclical with productivity. The more I exercise, the better I feel about myself, which increases my productivity in other areas of my life.
I have more energy and a better attitude to accomplish what needs to get done. Many people argue that their lives are too hectic, with too little time to squeeze in one more commitment, like visiting the gym. While I certainly appreciate overcommitted days, I also know I would not function nearly as efficiently if my day did not begin with some degree of movement.
Multitasking Mothers and Exercise
We mothers are masters of multitasking. We make the time to make everything work. Exercise should be of no exception. Try creating your weekly shopping list while sitting on the recumbent bike. Consider walking on the treadmill while getting caught up on current events on CNN. Need to return a few phone calls? Try scheduling those calls while walking your neighborhood. Exercising helps to clear your head of cobwebs, allowing you clarity for the week’s engagements. Even if you do not have access to gym equipment, you can take a few extra trips up and down your stairs while putting away laundry.
Working Out in Bulk
Just as shopping in bulk can save you time and money, bumping up your fitness minutes can work for your budget of time. If you know you simply cannot fit a workout in on Wednesday because of school, work, and baseball team commitments, add five minutes to your routine Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Over the course of the week, you have gained the twenty minutes of active time you thought wasn’t possible.
Break Your Workout Down in Two Parts
If an hour of physical activity overwhelms you, try breaking up the time. I have the shortest attention span in the world, and I am highly distractible when it comes to finishing a job, but working in a workout in small bits and pieces is just as effective as one long session. Try walking for thirty minutes in the morning and another thirty minutes in the evening if an hour is daunting. Total aerobic time is the same for your workout, but you may be more inclined to participate in fitness if you are not worried about other commitments you are thinking about.
Avoid Distractions that Keep You from Exercising
If you are easily swayed to skip a workout once you get home from work and sit down to the computer, try avoiding that pitfall before it consumes you. Exercise first thing in the morning, or bring your workout clothes to the office and walk during your lunch hour (before you eat). Schedule exercise like any other appointment and treat it as just that: a date with fitness.
Organize a Babysitting Co-op
I had a difficult time leaving my kids when they were infants. I got in the habit of exercising before the sun came up so my husband could stay home with them, and this schedule remains in place today because it still works for our relationship. For many couples, or single parents, however, this is not an option. Drop the baby off with a friend and go for a run, and then offer to return the favor so your friend can grab some solo fitness time. Your baby will be in trusted care and you will have an hour to yourself for a workout.
Instead of thinking of exercise as another obligation, try to think of it as a building block to your success. Increasing your health can only improve your lifestyle, lending to a more productive way to live.