Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creating an Exercise Habit by Bloom Guest Rachael

One of our basic tenets at Bloom is "keeping your sparkle." I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, part of feeling sparkly is feeling healthy, and exercise is a critical part of that. We were thrilled when Rachael Bailey volunteered to share her wisdom about fitting regular exercise into a busy life. This 5 part series will give you some great suggestions for creating and maintaining an exercise habit.

When my husband and I are having a difference of opinion, he frequently suggests that we take a walk together. Inevitably, by the time we get back home I am calmer, more willing to compromise, and generally in love with the world.

The secret? Endorphins.

When I hear the word “exercise,” I think of a bunch of women in leotards and sweatbands, jumping around to ‘80s music in an effort to lose weight. It’s not exactly the most appealing image, and it sounds like something you’re forced to do rather than something you want to do. But I am passionately in love with exercise. Not because I like sweating or I love leotards, but because I love the way exercise affects my mind and body.

I exercise for three reasons:

Sustaining a positive frame of mind. I have found that my moods are drastically affected by endorphins. To put it simply, if I exercise, I am happy. I have tons of energy, I can accomplish all kinds of tasks quickly, and I am more patient with my children (this is a biggie, and it is literally like night and day). Scientifically speaking, exercise is one of the most effective ways to metabolize stress hormones. If I have exercised before the children are up, I can handle pretty much anything the day throws at me. If I’ve slept in, inevitably I have to drag myself out of bed and spend the rest of the day moping around feeling listless and woe-is-me.

Overall health. As a runner, exercising gives me increased lung capacity, more effective cardiovascular functioning, and better joint and muscle health. Yoga gives me increased flexibility. Due to vigorous exercise earlier in the day, I sleep soundly at night and drink lots of water during the day—both things that help me to feel even better the next day. And perhaps best of all, exercise has been shown to slow the deterioration of mental acuity with increasing age—something which I’m sure we’d all like to avoid!

Maintaining a healthy weight. Would I exercise if I didn’t have to? I’d like to think that I would, simply because I feel so great afterwards, but let’s face it, most of us need physical activity in order to offset the extra calories we’re taking in. Personally, I am happy to run a couple of extra miles if it means that I can eat those brownies.

I am so excited to be posting here at Bloom about creating an exercise habit—I’ll be back soon with four tips to make the goal a reality!

In the mean time, we'd like to know...
Are you a regular exerciser?

If so, what are your secrets to success?
If not, what are your stumbling blocks?


Mickie and Matt said...

Yes! I LOVE to exercise! I do it regularly for all the same reasons Rachel stated too.

One of my secrets is Tracy Andersons Post Pregnancy Workout DVD. I had a co-worker give this to me just before I had my son. He told me his wife did it after every one of their children and she looked amazing in no time. He probably heard me one too many time worrying about it.

I tried it and I looked better 3 months after having my baby then I looked before I even got pregnant! I had so many women asking me how I did it. It was amazing! I recommend it to ANYONE looking to get their pre-pregnancy body back ASAP. It's about a 50 minute routine set to calming classical music. If I could I would give it to everyone I know who just had a baby.

Sarita said...

I, too, exercise for all of the reasons that Rachael mentioned, and I'd like to add two more:

*I believe that exercise can be as effective as therapy, only it's free!

*As a mother of three young children (ages 3, 2, and 5 months), sometimes early morning exercise is the only "me" time I get all day, where I can do something just for myself. Even though I believe, like Rachael, that my whole family reaps the benefits because I am a much happier, healthier wife and mother when I exercise regularly.

And thinking about that helps me pull myself out of bed a little early each morning when I'd otherwise rather hit the snooze button.

Thanks again, Bloom, for all of your positive posts and upbeat take on life and especially motherhood!

Dani said...

I LOVE exercise as well. It makes all the difference in every area of my life. My biggest secret is signing up for a race or setting a committed time with a friend. When you know you'll be letting someone down at 5:30 if you don't show up, it'a a lot easier to get out of bed. Races keep me training even when I've had to get up four times with kids, have way too much going on, and just don't feel like doing it any more. It keeps me going and gives me a specific goal to look forward to.

Jesslyn said...

This has been an impossible habit for me to start. But I recently recommitted. Once again. Someday it'll stick! This time could be THE time!

Abbie said...

so good!

I am a pretty regular exerciser. I usually go from a lot of running with a little yoga or all yoga. And sometimes I work out at the gym, but I kind of hate the gym. I also like videos: yoga & Jillian's 20 minute workout.

Stumbling blocks. Waking up early enough to go without kids and having kids.

Hayley said...

I'm still trying to get my post-preg bod back in shape, so I'm really excited about this 5 part series. I have had Bethenny Frankel's Yoga DVD (sadly, still in plastic) sitting on my shelf for over 2 months now. Time to get with the program!

Heather said...

I LOVE exercise as well! I run at least 4 days a week, about 14 miles throughout. I'm not into marathons but LOVE to run!

I also do classes at the gym and some light weight training. I do it for all the reasons she mentioned. I so believe in exercise. Great post! Can't wait to hear more!