We all know the benefits of exercise and just moving more, but it can be hard to put our best intentions in to practice. Managing our many competing obligations can be a challenge, especially for parents. I asked some 40-plus mothers who exercise regularly why and how they do it.
We should all try to set a good example and these are some inspirational examples to follow.
Why did you start exercising?
• I wanted to run a race.
• After years of looking after children, working full time, keeping house, and so on, I suddenly had some time for me. Exercise seemed the ideal solution. I was over 40, unfit and overweight. I’d lost sight of the person I was and wanted to be.
• I wanted something fun to do that’s good
What sort of exercise do you do?
• My first form of exercising after many years of no exercise at all was jogging/running. I started using the “Couch-to-5k” app. It’s a great way to start. It’s gradual, you improve quickly and in eight weeks, you can run 5k.
• I always enjoyed group classes, whether it was an aerobics class, circuit training or Group Power.
• Running, yoga and tennis
• Swimming, paddleboard, yoga
• Running and weights at the gym
How do you make time to exercise?
• It gets easier as the kids, who are now seven and 11, get older. They still need help with homework and of course they need to eat! Thankfully I share these tasks with my husband, which frees up time for me to get some exercise in.
• No excuses, there is always time during the course of a week; you just have to make it. Exercise is a priority for me.
• I try to ensure that despite being busy at work, having guests, and so on, I always do something even if my regular schedule changes slightly. That is the beauty of running; you can do it anytime and anywhere — early morning, weekends, evenings, good weather, bad weather and for longer or shorter duration.
What is your top tip for mothers just beginning to exercise?
• Being a parent is somewhat stressful and finding time to exercise is not easy. But there are so many benefits from exercise. It gives us both mental and physical strength.
• Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.
• Visualise and focus on your goals whenever you work out. Any exercise is great for the body and soul. Your motivation will increase once you start to see and feel the results.
• Buddy up. Join a friend, group of friends or support group. If you try a new sport, get lessons, don’t be too hard on yourself.
• Let it be fun and not a chore. Keep to a schedule, but don’t obsess if you miss a session.
• Compare yourself to you, not to others.
Tony Watts is a 50-something-year-old fitness fan who teaches cardiovascular and weight/resistance training classes at gyms on Grand Cayman.