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When you’re a mom, it can be hard to find the time and the energy to get fit. Exercise may not be your priority when you’ve got a screaming baby to tend to, toddlers to entertain or older kids to get to school on time. If you’ve never exercised before or you’ve taken months or years off, it’s so beneficial to get into a workout regime. Exercise has such incredible benefits for your physical health, but it can also have an incredibly positive impact on your psychological wellbeing and your confidence. If you’d like to be more active, here are some tips to help you do just that.

Seek advice

If you’re new to exercise, it can be a pretty daunting prospect, and this is where expert advice comes in handy. You could join a gym and work with a trainer . You could book some personal training sessions at home, or you could enroll in an online training program. Working with somebody who has experience in helping people reach their fitness goals will enable you to hit your goal. If you walk into a gym and you don’t have the first idea about which machines to use or how to use them, there’s a good chance you’ll lose interest quickly, and you could even injure yourself. Starting off with some guidelines will help you build up your fitness gradually and enable you to learn different skills, vary your workouts, and find out what kinds of activities and exercises you enjoy most.

Be sociable

If you’re a mom who often dreams about your pre-baby body, you’re definitely not alone. If you don’t want to work out on your own, why not join classes or ask a friend to join you for a jog? You can even look for classes that are designed for moms or sessions that are geared towards mothers and children. Some people find the prospect of going to a class on their own daunting, and having a buddy there will give you moral support. It’s often more fun to exercise with a friend too. Going to classes and group sessions can also help you expand your social circle and enjoy a bit of ‘me time’ away from your kids.

Find the right environment for you

There are so many ways you can get fit, and it’s important to find an environment that suits you. Many people enjoy going to the gym, running in the park or attending classes, but for some, the idea of exercising around others is terrifying. If you lack confidence in the way you look, or you’re embarrassed about your fitness levels, you don’t have to give up on your training goals. You could even set up your own mini gym at home. You could buy an exercise DVD (think Jillian Michaels) or an online workout to shape up. Whatever your preferences, you can tailor your regime to suit you. Don’t throw yourself into something if you don’t feel comfortable. You may find that starting out at home works for you and as you get more confident, you may be more open to social activities and classes.

Get your diet right

When you’re working out, it’s essential to get your diet right. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or tone up, your body needs fuel. You might think that you need to eat less if you’re trying to lose weight, but surviving on plates of leaves isn’t going to do you any good. You need energy to get through your workouts and get the most out of every session. If you’re not eating much, you won’t be able to work out to the best of your ability, your health will suffer, and your metabolism will slow down. Ask your trainer about meal plans or look online for a nutrition guide. Work out your ideal calorie intake based on your height and weight, your activity levels and your training goals, and use a food diary to keep track of your food intake.

Set a goal

When you’re starting a new fitness program, it’s always beneficial to have a target in mind. What is your long-term goal and what do you want to achieve along the way? Do you want to lose weight or do you simply want to feel more confident in your own skin? Do you want to train for a 10k run or are you desperate to tone up your tummy? Whatever your objective, focus on what you want from your routine and use it as a source of motivation.

Exercise can be fun

There’s an assumption that exercise is boring, but this definitely isn’t true. When you’re thinking about exercise, choose something you enjoy doing and make time for fun. You don’t have to jog for miles or lift weights over and over again. Switch things up. Go to salsa classes, let your hair down at Zumba, relax at a yoga session or take the kids skating. There are so many ways you can build your fitness and burn calories without feeling like every second is a chore.

It can be hard for moms to find time for exercise, but if you can spare 30 minutes or an hour a few times per week, you’ll enjoy incredible benefits. Seek expert advice to get you started, try and exercise with friends and have fun and design a program that suits you and makes you feel comfortable and confident. Good luck!

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Most kids cringe at the sight of broccoli or brussel sprouts on their plate. If it doesn’t look good, children believe it will not taste good. Presentation goes a long way with kids. Children always recoil at the sight of anything green on their plates.

And nowadays, many kids would rather stay inside and play on their tablets than go outdoors and be active. It’s a shame, really. Because I personally remember playing outside all day, every day, as a kid. As parents, it’s our job to instill activity into our kids’ lives so they live a more healthy one. And it’s important they learn to be active from a young age.

I find that the key is making it fun for your children. Here are a few ways you can help your kids enjoy living a healthy lifestyle:

Get Them To Eat The Rainbow

Eating the color of the rainbow is a phrase many nutritionists use to describe how you should design your diet. Ideally, you should eat as many colorful foods as possible. So much so that your daily diet resembles that of a rainbow! And when you provide colorful foods to your kids’ plates, this can make the food look fun and inviting. While you’re at it, get creative with the meals you make – healthy food doesn’t have to be boring! Put together colorful meals that look and taste great, and your kids will be waiting at the dinner table with huge smiles on their faces every night.

Make Exercise More Like A Game

If you try to force a child to exercise, it probably will not go down well. However, if your children naturally gravitate towards a sport, it makes it a lot easier for them to get some physical activity in. Also, if they have gym class in school, that helps as well.

But, what about at home, are they as active as they can be? More often than not, they aren’t. So, you may have to make exercise seem fun, and the best way to do this is by making a game out of it. My advice is to get a kids’ trampoline for indoors or the backyard. Trampolines are great for exercise. It’s an easy way to get them active, while also making them happy.

Exercise With Them

Exercise is important for everyone! And if you’re active, your kids will be too. After all, they learn from watching you. I often exercise in my basement to free exercise videos on YouTube. My girls always want to join in. And most times they never finish, but any bit of activity is good for them. You can also take them to the zoo in the summertime – there’s a lot of walking involved there; and in the winter, go ice skating as a family. Any activity is good for your body… so keep moving and they will want to as well.

Get A Family Dog

Lastly, this idea is one of the best if you’re looking for an excuse to get a pet. With a family dog, your children will soon be begging to go outside as often as possible, to play fetch with the dog. Also, a dog needs exercise too, so the whole family can make taking walks a part of your daily routine, weather permitting. The all-round health benefits it can lead to are quite remarkable really. Plus, bringing a lovely little animal into your home, gives your children some company. This is an excellent idea if you only have one child.

Making a healthy lifestyle can be fun! And it’s important to encourage activity, and lead by example.

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Do you ever feel guilty of thinking about giving yourself a break? If so, you are in excellent company. The modern mom often has to juggle parenting, work, and to look after the household, which leaves little time for anything else. The trouble is, ‘me time’ is important if you want to reduce your levels of stress, recharge yourself, and even be a better parent. Here are some reasons why me-time is so critical to your health and happiness, and why you shouldn’t feel so guilty about taking a time out every now and again. Read on to find out more!

It’s natural.

Humans have evolved to take regular rest, but when you first have kids, it’s the start of a long process that involves losing sleep and expending more energy than you ever have before. Wakeful nights, more chores, and the emotional stresses and strains of looking after a baby or two will take their toll, and taking a break and getting some well-deserved rest is your body’s way of recovering.

It’s healthy.

Make no mistake about it, all this stress build-up is incredibly dangerous. It can lead to chronic, long-term health problems, both in mind and body. Stress can also mess up your immune system, and lead to severe conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. It leads to psychological issues like depression, too, which could prove to be a terrible outcome for your ability to look after your children.

You need sleep to function.

As with anything else in life, your ability to perform in tasks is highly affected by the amount of sleep you have. And you will lose a lot of sleeping hours when you have a baby – it’s completely unavoidable in the vast majority of cases – unless you are incredibly lucky. It’s important that you catch up on your lost sleep whenever you can, so perhaps think about what you can do about it. Maybe it’s time to buy some new bedroom furniture to create a relaxing environment that you can retreat to one or two nights a week. A good bed is imperative for adequate rest. Perhaps you can ask your parents to look after the kids for a couple of weekends a year so you can recharge your batteries. And perhaps you and your partner can share nighttime duties in the week, to spread the burden, so it isn’t all on you. With more rest, you can be a better mother – it’s that simple.

You’re not just a mom.

When you have children, it can kind of overwhelm you. You are fulfilling your natural function, after all, and will do anything and everything you can to give your kids the best life possible. However, you’re not just a mom. You are a wife or partner. You’re a daughter, and maybe an aunt, as well as being a friend and colleague to lots of people outside of the family. You might be an employee, employer, or self-employed worker, too. And most of all, you’re a person, who needs the simple things in life that everyone else needs to be happy and healthy. That includes taking some rest every now and again – so don’t feel guilty about it in the slightest.

Helping others is easier when you help yourself.

The reality of parenting – and life in general, actually – is that you are better at it if you are in good shape. And the stronger, healthier, and fitter you are, the better you can deal with anything parenting throws at you. So, don’t be afraid to go down to the gym two or three times a week, and put aside time in the evening to make yourself a healthy meal. Get into meditation or mindfulness, too, to clear your head and focus on yourself every once in a while. You will feel better than if you are just focusing on helping your kids 24/7, and you will do a better job of it, too.

24/7 attachment leads to problems.

Being a mom, you are tuned into your babies and children at all times. And while you might not hear this from the rather rose-tinted world of parenting bloggers, it can lead to serious problems. Spending time with anyone for this length of time, with no breaks at all, can lead to resentment and all kinds of other negative feelings kicking in – and there aren’t many moms out there who are immune to it. So, while it might go against your natural instincts, taking someone up on the offer of looking after your kids and giving you a break once a week shouldn’t be sniffed at. Sometimes, it takes an absence – even as little as an hour – to make the heart grow fonder. If you can loosen your grip, you’ll find you are still obsessed with your kids, but for all the right reasons.

You have talents to share.

Do you have any talents, or hobbies you have given up since having kids? If so, think about taking those activities up again. Not only will it help you feel like you are challenging yourself in other ways than ‘just being a mom,’ but you’ll also have those talents to share as your kids get older. Your little ones will love the fact you can paint, draw, play a musical instrument or create incredible DIY furniture, and will be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Kids are super proud of parents with talents and hobbies, and while being a mother should be your number one priority, you will find your creativity brings an extra something to your life.

You need to set a good example.

Finally, if your kids see you running around in a permanent state of exhaustion, how do you think that will affect them in their later life? If you don’t take care of yourself, and do everything for them all the time, it can have a negative impact. Yes, your kids are at the center of your universe, but it’s not good to teach them that they are the center of the actual universe. The result could be your kids growing up to be lazy, selfish, and perhaps even incapable of living life to its fullest. If you can show your kids that you take time to work out, follow your interests, and have a life outside of the family, it will rub off on them, too. The idea is to show them that you value yourself as much as you value taking care of their needs, and it’s an incredibly valuable lesson for them to learn.

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We often hear “spring cleaning” get tossed around like a salad this time of year. And while I am all for cleaning out the junk in my home, I think “spring cleaning” is good for our bodies, too. And when our homes are decluttered, our spirit is lifted. A weight is removed from our shoulders.

Here in Michigan, the sun has been in hiding most of the winter. We get through our cold days with warm foods and little to no exercise. We might have good intentions to work out, but if our schedules are heavily loaded (and which they always are as moms), we push our health aside.

This time of year right now allows us to move outside more, so we might as well utilize what is given to us. Thanks, nature.

In our homes, we probably see that our garages have accumulated junk, as do our basements over the cold months. Once the sun glares into our windows, we start to notice the dust on the light fixtures we didn’t see just a month ago.

We see in a different light. The rose-colored glasses have been lifted and we notice all the clutter that is filled in our closets. So many toys our kids have and we think, “time to throw some out.” We get an extra spring in our step and we want to go for a walk, maybe a jog. Our bodies are in tune with nature, so it makes complete sense we feel the rhythm of the season.

Every year around this time of year, there are certain things I do to “cleanse” my house and body. Here are my top five:

  1. Declutter. This sounds obvious, but it’s something you really need to do at least once per year. Now is a perfect time! We accumulate too much crap, especially during the winter. We become pack rats for some reason. This is a terrific time to go through your clothing, to see what you can donate to the Salvation Army. And not only in your closet, but your children’s, too. Kids grow fast. My 5-year-old insists on wearing old clothes (even if they no longer fit), and then she looks absolutely ridiculous.
  2. Dust. If you’re like me, you do this year round. But, surprisingly enough dust isn’t always visible during the winter months (thanks to the gray skies), so make sure you get out your dust mitt and get to work! The walls, ceilings, cabinets, etc.
  3. Window Washing. Again, this is obvious, but when the windows are clean – your whole house feels better. And in the winter months, our windows in Michigan take a beating. I recently discovered Norwex products and am in love. Their window cloth is ah-maazing! You literally use water and a towel to get sparkling clean windows. It’s magic!
  4. Open your windows and/or sage your home. Let’s face it, our windows are closed all winter long. Our house wants fresh air, just like we do. So, when the temp breaks a little – crack ‘em open! And another good thing to do this time of year is to sage your home. If you don’t know what that means you can Google it. It’s basically a way to cleanse – based on Native American traditions. Many psychics, spiritual healers, believe in the power of sage to kill negative energies. I don’t know about you, but, if I can abolish any bit of negative energy, it’s worth a try.
  5. Get moving. With your body that is. Spring brings with it a feeling of renewal, a pep in your step. Go for a walk or a run. Whatever, just get moving! There are SO many great free exercise videos on YouTube. You don’t need anything but your phone to workout. So, the only excuse you can make is the kids. But they eventually sleep, right?!

I promise you, if your house is open and free from clutter and your body is given a nice dose of endorphins from exercise – you will feel an awakening! A spring awakening!

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photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

photo credit: Be-Younger.com Jumping via photopin (license)

As a kid, it was very common for me to hear other family members complain about their bodies. I can remember shopping with my mom and hearing, “I look so fat,” many times. I also can remember my grandmother eating pie and donuts often, and saying, “Well I’m fat anyway,” if someone commented that she ate too many sweets.

I was always an average sized kid. I never watched what I ate or even thought twice about what I put into my mouth until I was about 15-years-old. My sister joined a gym in high school and started monitoring everything she ate. Then my close friends started eating everything with a “fat-free” label. Even when I babysat, the mom only had Diet Coke in her fridge. It seemed everyone was conscious about their body and what they ate or drank. They say behavior is contagious, and I guess it’s true. Because I too became aware of everything I ate.

Like my sister, I also joined a gym. We’d work out together after school and when we graduated high school, would meet at the gym after work. Always with one goal in mind: to burn fat; to fit into our jeans; to feel good about ourselves. I worked out every day of my life for years. I’d work out when I was sick, too tired, and didn’t have much time. It was probably a bit addictive… Actually, I still work out, but for an entirely different reason.

My body craves movement. I am not one to sit still for too long, and good thing, because my kids never let me anyway. But, after being pregnant twice, I have learned something about myself I never paid attention to before. If pregnancy taught me anything, it’s how to listen to your body. There are days I am tired to do anything other than laundry, and on those days I simply go for a walk or do no exercise at all. There are days when I have the urge to run a half marathon… and on those days I do some cardio or weights. There are days I don’t have time to exercise. And so I don’t. The difference now is, I truly enjoy exercising. And I enjoy it even more when my 4-year-old wants to participate. Like really participate. Sometimes she gets in the way. Sometimes she just watches. And sometimes she joins in (but always quits before it ends). And I know this is a good example for her.

If I ever hear her complain about her body, like when she can’t poop, or when she gets a boo-boo, I always remind her, “You only get one body, treat it kindly.” I wish someone would’ve told me that as a kid. I only remember hearing others complain about their bodies. But our bodies do the most important work for us. They carry our souls. They allow us to feel, to express ourselves. They give us mobility. How lucky we are if our body is healthy.

I will constantly remind my girls as they grow, to always respect their bodies. I think some people push themselves to the limit in terms of exercise, not eating enough or the right foods, and not getting enough sleep (which we can’t always control). And most of us know it’s wrong. We know we are sabotaging our bodies but do it anyway. In the long run, it doesn’t make us any healthier. It actually ages us.

I know if we listen to our bodies and treat them with TLC, they will always be happy and willing to carry us through our journey of life. As a mom, I feel it my duty to make sure my children love and respect themselves, their whole selves.

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