Incorporating fitness into my life has been a huge help in overcoming depression. As an exhausted, non-athletic mom, I felt overwhelmed and discouraged trying to exercise. Going to the gym was both time and cost prohibitive. I don’t really enjoy sports, so a pick up soccer or ultimate frisbee game was not a part of my routine. I didn’t really know how to work with weights or do fun cardio. I bought a double jogging stroller, but one child or another was always crying, and once you have more than two little ones the double jogger isn’t enough anyway. I walked almost every day, 2 in the stroller, baby in the pack, oldest on his bike. But walking with littles is a slow and leisurely activity. Great for lifting the spirits, not so much for lifting the heart rate. By the time we made it to the park I just wanted to plop down on the bench, or gently push the baby in the swing. Running around playing lava monster (although it often happened) wasn’t super high on the list. I was disheartened and dispirited, fueled by sugar and caffeine. Exercise and feeding myself right were nebulous shadows from a distant past. This sums up the health and fitness part of my life for the first 10 years of parenting.

Epiphany. I discovered workout DVD’s. An infomercial (blush) led me to Slim in 6 (no worries, I am not trying to sell you this) and I was hooked. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. The only equipment I needed was a resistance band and my own body weight. The level 1 workout was challenging, yet doable. I could squeeze this in during nap time, when naps happened, or while the kids played around me. The home fitness journey started and I never looked back.

In all honesty, it wasn’t until my youngest was about 3 that exercise became a daily habit, and it took some patience and training for the youngers to accept that this was something mom was not going to compromise on. All the investment, both in the money spent on the program and time patiently training the children, was totally worth it. In the end, I bought 1 lb. weights from the Goodwill, and extra resistance bands, so all my kids could have their own equipment and workout with me if they wanted to.

Fast forward six years. With YouTube and high speed internet, a home fitness routine is even easier and the price is right. But with so many choices it is easy to feel snowed under when changing your lifestyle. Fitting In Fitness to the rescue.  A, hopefully, weekly post with friendly tips, YouTube workouts, healthy recipe shares, and a good dose of encouragement, are all part of the plan.

Up first: Fitness Blender’s Feel Good Stretching Routine. This is labeled as a relaxing cool down, but is also a great stand alone workout for beginners. Stretching is always safest and most effective when the body is warm. About 5-10 minutes of movement before doing this workout is all it takes. Chase your kids around the yard. Climb up and down the stairs a few times. Take the dog for a brisk walk. Jog is place, jumping jacks and arm circles. You get the picture. Once your body is warm turn on this stretch. A great, safe workout at home in 20 minutes (including warm up).

Up Next: Cardio Kickboxing and Bodyweight Cardio. This workout takes it up a level and is a great intermediate session, no equipment necessary.  Beginners are welcome too, as plenty of modifications are provided. Read more about the benefits interval training to see if this is something to try at home this week.

Tip of the Week: Invest in good shoes. Wearing proper footwear for your workout can help protect you from joint and tendon injuries. I learned the importance of this first hand. After wearing ill fitting running shoes I developed achilles tendinitis, which derailed my fitness for 18 months. Click here for more detailed information.

Recipe Recommendation: Quinoa Salad from FoodNetwork. Quinoa comes from South America. It is gluten free and a plant source complete protein.  Here is a great article to find out more about the health benefits and nutrition facts of quinoa.

Encouraging Word:

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.” – Anne Frank

Do you have a favorite workout, recipe, or fitness story? Please share in the comments below.

Post series inspired by: Move It Monday