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Rule 11: Succeed at Staying Fit

Aug 9, 2008
Krista Leopold has over 20 years dance and fitness experience. She helps others succeed in achieving their wellness goals, and works full-time in web development while teaching fitness classes in Charleston, SC.

The plight of working mothers is that as our schedules fill up, caring for our own health gets squeezed out. For working moms with little time, there is good news; you can be fit without committing to long hours in the gym. By abandoning some preconceived notions and making a few simple changes, you can succeed at staying fit.

You do not have to look like a cover model to be happy. This destructive idea is also the one that you pay hard-earned money to hear. Battle this thought by giving up the things that perpetuate these impossible standards. Without TV and magazines you'll be free of constant negative reinforcement. Not only will you enjoy an improved outlook and positive self-image; you will also gain additional free time to play with your family.

Another idea you should reconsider is that exercise requires a lot of time. Don't miss out on valuable opportunities to be an active woman by thinking that exercise is just a one-hour-a-day thing. Instead, choose to burn extra calories all day long in small doses. Take the stairs; park in the last spot; tighten and release your abs while seated at your desk. There are infinite opportunities to infuse sedentary tasks with more activity.

Finally, remember that exercise doesn't have to be hard to be good. Intense workouts are necessary if you are training for a competition, but the average woman can experience fitness benefits simply by increasing her daily activity. You don't have to cancel your membership if you like your club and are able to find the time, but know that you have options. Why don't you break a sweat by putting on energetic music and dancing with your kids while dinner bakes?

As a busy working woman, you need to keep your energy up and your mind clear. To enjoy these benefits, evaluate your time and determine where you can insert a little extra movement. Here are some suggestions for adding activity to your day, without demanding more of your precious time:

Begin each day with gentle stretching or sun salutations. Moving first thing in the morning will clear your mind, and allow you to mentally prepare for the day. It might require getting up before everyone else, but think of it as a gift of sanity to you.

Look for opportunities to move instead of sitting still. In addition to the suggestions above, try standing instead of sitting; walking on your lunch break; jogging in place while listening to voice mail or when on hold; or meeting your gal pals for yoga instead of a drink. Anything can be made active with a little creativity and boldness.

Let your children be your guide. Play with them, imitate them, laugh with them. Instead of "Movie Night," teach them games you played when you were a kid or make up new ones together. Take nature walks and join them on the jungle gym. The best times you'll enjoy with your family start when someone says, "Who wants to play...?"

Let your kids exercise with you. Time spent alone at the gym could be time spent with your family. Get them involved by doing an aerobics video together; hold your baby while doing wall sits; invest in a jogging stroller; put your toddler on your shoulders and do walking lunges or hoist her over your head a few times. Involving your kids has the added benefits of teaching them healthy habits and providing more of what we working women crave - quality family time.

Physical fitness and the benefits that come with it require you to be physical. Start by making positive changes to your day that get you moving and smiling. Free yourself from preconceived notions about "working out," and you will find yourself more fit, creative and successful, both in your challenges at work and at home.

As excerpted from "42 Rules (tm) for Working Moms" Super Star Press, 2008
About the Author
Laura Lowell is the executive editor and author of "42 Rules for Working Moms." She has gathered practical advice and information from working moms all over the world to share with others. She lives and works in Silicon Valley with her husband and two girls. http://www.42rules.com/working_moms/index
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