17 TIPS FOR PUTTING YOU FIRST
Here’s how to work out without stressing yourself
(and your family and your boss) out
Maybe it’s because everyone acts so darn helpless around us, but women are afraid everything will come crumbling down if they leave their jobs or family for an hour or two of playtime. What they forget is the golden rule of caretaking: You’ll be much better equipped to help others if you take care of yourself first. Here are 16 more reasons for making your fitness priority number one.
You’ll be happier: Regular exercise helps make you happy. Literally hundreds of studies have found that to be true. Researchers at Harvard University found that 10 weeks of strength training actually reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than did standard counseling. Psychologists are increasingly prescribing exercise to treat mild to moderate depression as well as anxiety disorders and alcohol abuse. So the next time you’re feeling guilty or facing frowns from the family on your way out the door, explain that exercising for 1 hour lifts your mood and makes you more fun to be around when you return.
You’ll feel sexier: Women who feel good about their bodies have steamier love lives than those who don’t. And women who exercise regularly tend to be happier with their naked selves. What’s even better is that vigorous exercise produces feel-good hormones called endorphins that make some women feel sexier after they work out.
He takes plenty of playtime: A typical golf game lasts 3 to 4 hours. And the typical guy doesn’t wrack himself with guilt about going out to the greens for the afternoon. The same goes for softball, hoops, racquetball, or any other sports that men play, Embrace your active hobbies the same way he embraces his—with guilt-free enthusiasm. To reduce precious weekend time spent apart, try to coordinate your activities so that you’re wrapping up at about the same time.
It’s problem-solving time: For many women, exercise time is thinking time. In fact, it’s the only time many working moms get to be alone with their own thoughts. Let your loved ones know that you need this time to think—undisturbed.
You can help a good cause: It’s not that you aren’t enough of a good cause, but some women feel less guilty about time spent running, walking or cycling when they’re also benefiting a favorite charity. Signing up for a run, walk, or ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, or AIDS makes you feel like you’re benefiting others as well as yourself.
It’s like recess: Your kids don’t feel guilty when they want to go out and play; they get excited about it. Let them know that parents like playtime just as much as kids do. They won’t always be happy about it, but it’s a valuable lesson.
Exercise is cheaper than therapy: Stress raises blood pressure, tightens muscles, interrupts digestion, weakens your immune system, and throws a huge wet blanket on your libido. Active women are half as likely to develop depression and anxiety as their sedentary counterparts. They sleep better at night and feel more energetic and relaxed during the day. And you can get a quality pair of running shoes for the price of one session with a shrink.
You’ll drop those final pounds: Exercise helps you reach your weight loss goals. Share those goals with your family, and tell them that you need their help and encouragement in reaching them. That includes pitching in around the house so that you have time to work out. Have a family celebration when you reach your goals.
You can make a date: You can have fitness as well as social time with girlfriends
without taking tons of time for both. Instead of meeting for drinks and dinner, meet to go skating, jogging, or biking, or head to the gym together. You’ll be able to chat and catch up on each other’s lives, and you’ll get your butts in shape as a bonus.
It’s great family time: The family that sweats together stays together! Instead of always working out without your man or your kids, take them with you sometimes. Plan a day hike. Do a family run/bike ride. Spend the day swimming and rafting on a lake. The more you do together, the more everyone will appreciate taking active time on their own too.
You can talk to God: Consider it “moving meditation”. Lots of women use their workout time to get connected to their spiritual self. Hey, it’s hard to feel selfish about forgoing mundane tasks such as dishes and laundry for a long run when you know that you’re not just training your body but also feeding your soul.
You don’t have to leave home: Just can’t get out of the house? Pick up some dumbbells and workout tapes, and exercise around your kids’ school and nap schedules. You won’t feel like you’re straining the household by leaving for long stretches, but you’ll still get in shape.
Exercise makes you interesting: Whether you run, swim, or take yoga classes, working out gives you and your mate (and friends and family) something to talk about. Consider your workouts time spent making you a healthier, happier, and more interesting person.
Time is short! Although it’s a subject we avoid while we’re young and kicking, our lives won’t last forever. Whether you believe we go on to another place, are reborn as turtles, or end up on another planet, this is it for now. Make the most of the body you have, and live your life to the fullest with no apologies necessary.
It’s like brushing your teeth: If you plot out a relatively consistent exercise routine, everyone around you will simply adapt to it and not expect you to be around during those times. That makes it more predictable and less stressful for all involved. If folks still have trouble remembering, post your schedule on a calendar where it can be seen by everyone.
Just do it! People are amazingly adaptable creatures. After the first few weeks of your new exercise regimen, the husband, kids, and boss won’t blink an eye at your short absences. And you’ll come to realize that they really can manage without you after all—at least for a short time.
From: Prevention. Total Body Guide