Exercise can be a big part in anyone’s life. Some people live for it. Others can’t stand it. What I love about it, is that you can make it anything you want it to be. It can mean that you go to the gym, you go running (inside or outside), you go for a walk, you use a treadmill or other equipment at home, YouTube videos or DVD’s at home.
During college and shortly after, I had a gym membership. I would go and run on the treadmill for some time, or use the elliptical, and/or the weight machines. Some days, when I was living at home, I would do two, twenty minute videos, one was Pilates and the other was yoga. I would spend at least an hour or more doing some sort of exercise because I thought it was needed in order for me to maintain a certain look.
Now-a-days, as a mom, exercise and fitness mean a whole new thing to me. I think of it as something to keep me healthy, not because of the way I look. I think of it as something to keep me strong, so that I can keep up after my boys. I think of it as something for me to do for myself. Some of it, dare I say it, is fun!
The things that I like to do for exercise the most are dancing, Barre, yoga, and sometimes, HIIT. I do also like to go on long walks – particularly on the beach …..but mostly around my neighborhood with my family (and on some occasions, alone).
In no particular order, here are the exercises that I consider fun and rotate going through so I don’t get bored.
Dance: although I’m a former dancer and really miss dancing and performing, I dance around my house. all. the. time. Even when the kids tell me to stop. I put on some music that I can move my body to and dance. Moving my body makes me feel good. I sometimes find some fitness dance videos on YouTube. Occasionally I’ll go to a dance class at a local fitness studio. The benefits of dancing include improve cardiovascular health, improve balance and strength, boosts cognitive performance, challenges your brain, can be a social activity, boosts your mind and is gentle on the body.
Barre. Barre is something that I was introduced to about a year and a half ago via some YouTube videos. When I heard there was a local class starting at my towns recreation center, I signed up. Getting to this class in person, was awesome. I realized how much the smallest, slightest bit of movement can actually impact the strength in ones body. This is one of my favorite exercises, besides dancing. Some of the benefits of Barre is strength and definition, endurance, flexibility, posture, and mind-body connection.
Yoga. What can I say about yoga? I enjoy doing this first thing in the morning or at night before bed, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. It helps to ease me into the day or ease me into sleep. It helps keep me relaxed after meditation, as I often do meditation in the morning and then some yoga. It helps with my stretching and flexibility. I use YouTube to find some great yoga videos. Some yoga benefits include: increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and toning, improved posture, relaxation of shoulders, neck and upper back, improved concentration, improves balance and coordination, and stress management and relaxation.
HIIT. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a lot of high intensity movements in a short amount of time. I love being able to do short bursts of exercise, that work the entire body and this way is no joke! It’s not easy but highly effective. This is the type of exercise that I started to get back into a fitness routine with after my second son was born. Although it took me a good year until after he was born to get back into it. Some benefits of HIIT routines are that it can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, it can elevate your metabolism, it can help you lose fat, you might gain muscle, and it can improve your oxygen consumption.
Walking. This is a great way to move your body, whether it be indoors or outdoors. Outdoors is my favorite because you can get fresh air, see what’s around your neighborhood, and you can do it with other people! Some people use a treadmill indoors to do some walking. And there are walking programs on YouTube that you can use right in your living room. There are so many benefits, such as strengthening your heart, burning calories, lower your blood sugar, easing joint pain, boosts immune system and energy, improves your mood, tones your legs and helps your creative thinking.
Lately, my go to is Barre and Yoga. I try to add in some dance here and there. But ultimately, I just try to move my body a bit each day. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or for 50 minutes. Again, I’m doing this for myself to feel healthy and strong. I’m not exercising because I want to alter the way I look.