Thursday, September 17, 2009

Her Arms are Strong...

Proverbs 31:17, 25

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Exercise. A lot of people cringe at just at the thought of it. It can be very hard sometimes to find the motivation you need to get up and start moving. I am very thankful that I actually enjoy working out.....now. I have been working out on a regular basis for a good 6 years, but it hasn't always been that way. I was not a very active child. I played with dolly's instead of sports, and struggled with weight issues into my teens. I had low self-esteem, and was often sick. When I was 17, I decided to start running. It was very hard at first. I couldn't even make it 1/4 mile before having to stop from cramps and being out of breath. It would have been much easier to just quit, but the more I pushed the easier it became and the farther I was able to go. It took patience and perseverance, blood, sweat and tears, (well, I don't know about the blood and tears part, but there most certainly was a lot of sweating!) and it has definitely paid off! I have been able to maintain a healthy weight, (before, during and after my pregnancy), my self-confidence is high, and besides an occasional stuffy nose, I almost never get sick. Exercising has become a part of me.

My workout routine has definitely changed since I had a baby. Before baby, I was able to sleep through the night, and feel refreshed in the morning. I was on my own schedule. Only had me to worry about. Life was a lot more flexible. Now I live on baby time. Sleep is interrupted and over way to quickly. You wake up still tired, and find it hard to get motivated to do your daily chores, let alone exercise! One moment baby is happy as a clam, and the next just won't stop crying. I have found that having a scheduled and structured workout routine just does not work. I have had to become creative and spontaneous with my exercising.

I love that I am able to have a gym membership, but some of you may not have one. Going to the gym is not the only way to get a workout. I am very thankful to have gotten a jogging stroller (off Craigs List! Thanks honey!), which I highly recommend getting if you are able to do so. It is so easy to just go outside and run or walk when you find that you have some free time! It really doesn't take any planning. You can do it anytime that works for you and baby. You are always close to home if baby decides he needs something. It might even help calm a crabby baby. I know it did for mine!

If you have more then one child try to make it a priority to have a baby sitter or have daddy watch the kids.

Another easy way to get a workout in is to just do it in your living room. You can do it with baby awake or sleeping. You can do it with one, two, or ten kids. "But Stacey", you say, "I'm not a personal trainer. What on earth would I do? I would have no clue where to begin!" Oh, I am glad you asked that! I, myself, am no expert, but there are countless workout videos out there; From beginner to advanced, kickboxing to pilates, that you can follow along with. "But Stacey", you say, "I can't afford to buy an expensive workout dvd set!" Oh but you don't need to buy them! You can borrow them from your local library! Yep, that's right. I have found that my local library system has a huge variety of exercise videos. Every week you can do a different workout! My personal favorite so far? The biggest loser workouts. I especially love Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. She has 3 different levels of difficulty, and goes at a really good pace (as do all the Biggest Loser workouts). I really feel the burn after doing that! It's only 20 minutes too!

I suggest you stay away from Shiva Rea's Creative Core Abs. That lady is not human. No one should be able to fold like that!

Side note:
Some of the videos require hand held weights. I haven't been able to invest in hand weights yet, so I just use big cans of beans! It works!

When I was able to get to the gym, I found myself doing things there that I could easily be doing at home. Stretches, crunches, push-ups, etc. I decided to make it a point to do my crunches at home, and use the time at the gym to do things I wasn't able to do at home. But then, I had trouble remembering to do them, and the only time I thought about doing them was when I was at the gym. It was a vicious cycle, but I found an answer for it. I set a daily alarm on my phone for a time I knew I would be home the majority of the time. 9:15pm worked for me. You should try it! If you need ideas for more variety in your ab workouts, you can just go to youtube.com.

For a lot of us, seeing the number go down on the scale is what keeps us motivated to keep on exercising, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But don't make that your main goal. If that is your only driving force, you are doomed to fail. Think of it as an extra bonus if it does happen. There are also some of you out there who are blessed with a high metabolism, and think "I don't need to lose weight, so why should I exercise?" Well, think again.

Here are a few reasons why everyone should strive to make exercise not just something you check off of your to-do-list, but to make it a part of your daily lifestyle.

Working out regularly will:

- Help you sleep better.

- Improve your mood and due to the chemicals it releases in the brain called endorphins, it will give you an overall feeling of well-being.

- Reduce the risk for several diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.

- Reduce the effects of aging.

- Reduce the incidence of injury and also reduce the chances of illness.

- Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat.

- Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints

When you are having trouble getting motivated, really focus on how good it makes you feel when your done. Taking only 30 minutes out of your day to exercise can drastically change your life, and everyone around you! When I exercise, I feel less stressed and it boost my self-esteem. I am energized, more focused, and just plain old happier after a good workout. Above all else, it keeps me healthy.

Side note: Along with regular exercise, in order to have maximum results, you also need to focus on your eating habits, but that is a whole other post on its own!
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1 comment:

  1. Stacey,
    Thanks for this post! It encouraged me to pull my exercise DVD out and DO IT! I have a Leslie Sansone Walk at Home dvd, and really like it. I am hoping to buy the Jillian Michaels one soon, since I could use a little more variety.

    I am excited to read what else you have to say on your blog!

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