The below question and responses were compiled by fellow graduate wife reader, Laura Lee. She surveyed several women on the journey and is sharing with us their answers. You can see her original post here, where she outlines her journey towards discovering the answers of a ‘balanced’ life during this season of being a graduate wife and beyond. This is part II of the ‘What does a balanced life look like?’ series. Enjoy!
1) Part of living a balanced life includes a healthy amount of exercise. How do you choose to exercise? When do you find it best to do it? How on earth do you make time for it?
- Exercise – I try to run every other morning (M-W-F) around 6am, although sometimes earlier. I reserve Saturday mornings for longer runs and a later start. For the days I don’t run (I take Sunday off completely), I do a workout dvd at home. My son is normally awake by 530 or 6, so I normally get up with him, and then my husband is up by the time I’m headed out the door. When I return, my husband then usually leaves for his run. If I don’t workout, my stress levels are usually off the charts…so this is a must for me, no matter how hard or early. I have to stay healthy (mentally, physically & emotionally)!
- What helps me to exercise is by choosing a race to run and marking up my training schedule in my planner so that I do it (and I feel like I didn’t do my homework if I don’t do the day’s run – I’m a huge dork, girls). As for timing, it depends on my husband’s schedule. Sometimes in the morning (he’ll watch my daughter before heading to work), sometimes with my daughter in the afternoons (we have a stroller that ‘jogs’) and sometimes in the early evening (which means dinner is ready before I head out to run, and we eat and do the nightly routine when I get back). I am always thinking I should do some sort of strength training on top of jogging, but I don’t. I take a day off each week.
- I love exercise and try to squeeze it in whenever I get the chance. I do a workout dvd on Monday and Thursday when my son is napping. I tried to do it with him in the room but it didn’t work…he was pulling on and crawling under my legs and laughing. Although, the sit-ups were probably good because he wanted to sit on my stomach…as for now I’ll stick to when he’s asleep. I usually work out at the college gym on Wednesday and sometimes on the weekend. We really like to have a “family outing” on Saturdays and go for a long walk around the city, to the park, etc. We just got a bike seat for our son, so I’m looking forward to more cycling adventures on the weekends. I also try to go for a walk with my son at least once a day. He is taking one nap a day now so I usually go out with him in the morning to run errands, go to the outdoor market, etc. If time permits I try to walk and not take the bus when I go into town, which is a pretty long walk. Most days I take him outside to play in the afternoon. He’s so active and being outdoors with him is so fun! Our college has a playground and many places for him to run around and roam. It’s really exercise enough just chasing my son!
- I exercise all the time because A) I have a toddler and B) I have no car. Life is exercise to me. I stay busy to stay fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no shape to be running marathons or anything, but that isn’t important to me at this point in my life. I’m happy with the size/shape/weight/energy level I am. However, the times in my life when I have been more fit (at times MUCH more fit) I have made sport/exercise part of my community/social time. The time spent with friends working out (usually playing sports) fulfilled both relationship needs and exercise needs. Double duty! Plus I hate exercising for exercising’s sake. But I love team sports. I’m thrilled to sprint for a ball play after play, hour after hour for the sake of the next play and for the sake of a teammate. If I had a 3 times weekly soccer/basketball game or tennis match and I had someone to watch my daughter, you can bet your buns I’d be there every time.
- I was really sporty in high school and have found working out a real challenge. I never had to think about ‘working out’ back in the day, because I loved basketball so much…it wasn’t a chore, it was a joy and a passion. But here I am now, three kids in tow, and still not back to my ‘ideal’ size…. So I’ve started working out….though now it’s not about reaching that perfect size….it’s about feeling good and being confident that I’m being the best I can be. And while it still is not my favorite thing, I am learning to love it because it injects some discipline into my life and it feels good to accomplish something difficult. I am finally going to finish P90X. I’ve started it probably 5 times over the last two years and this is my first time to complete it. HALLELUJAH! All stinkin’ 13 weeks of it. And I’ve got the guns to prove it. :) Joking. My kids are bigger so I find it easier to exercise when they’re around. They enjoy watching me and laughing at me. Most days I try to exercise before I pick up my older boys from school. I put my daughter down for a nap, eat some lunch while I watch a show and then I exercise just in the nick of time to pick the boys up at 3:05.