The Busy Mom's Fitness Plan

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It's so easy not to exercise, especially if you're a mom. You can always say that you're too busy. Or you can tell yourself that taking care of your children is exercise enough. However, the benefits of regular physical activity cannot be denied. It improves your mood, boosts your energy, prevents the onset of a bunch of diseases, and spices up your sex life. For mom Gigi Alcantara, who runs on a regular basis, pounding the pavement was a natural course of action. She says, “I've been active since I was a kid. Funny thing is no one influenced me to live an active lifestyle. I just liked it.”

Gigi adds, “Running is a very simple sport, but it is very liberating for me. It is my ultimate “me” time. The rhythm of my feet on the road gives me peace to concentrate on just me. Running has become my mainstay of activity in terms of sports and fitness.”

Jade Amon, a mom who practices Ashtanga, only started getting serious about exercise when she changed her status from single to married. She says, “I seriously started to act on it when I got married and had kids. I figured the only way I can be a better wife or mom is if I am fit and healthy.”

But whether engaging in a regular form of exercise comes naturally or not, the important thing is to get started. Here, Jade and Gigi share some tips on how you can start sweating it out:

1. Start now! “Just do it, there really is no better time to start than now,” says Jade. “No need to wait for a special date or for a big event. Those tend to be convenient excuses to postpone.”

2. Make time! Gigi says, “Wake up a bit earlier than usual and go for a 30-minute brisk walk when everyone else is still asleep. Or squeeze it in during lunchtime or in the afternoons,” Jade says. “Treat it as an appointment that you cannot simply or easily move.”

3. Make it routine! “Run or exercise at least three times a week. If you can't run outside or on a treadmill, do 10 repetitions of jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 10 triceps dips, and 10 squats for three rounds... Most important thing is to do something moderately active 30 to 45 minutes a day,” Gigi says. “At some point, your body will be the one looking for it. You'd be surprised at how soon that can happen,” adds Jade.

4. Set a goal! “It could be fitting in an old pair of jeans or finishing a 5K running race. Having an objective will help you stay on track of your fitness goals. Just being able to exercise three times a week is a feat in itself for most busy moms,” says Gigi.

This story first appeared in Urban Mom magazine.