Monday, February 18, 2008

When Do Working Moms Work in a Work Out?

Like most people, I could use a bit more exercise. Maybe more than a bit. At The 36-Hour Day, I put my excuses on the table and ask other working moms to tell me how they manage to get their work outs on.

The "I Can Be Fitter" Group here at Work It, Mom! is causing me some major anxiety.

I used to be fantastically fit. But that was, like, a lifetime ago. Right now, I am a slug. Or, at least, I feel like I am a slug. Aside from bench-pressing about 20 percent of my body weight in toddler, I don't get much exercise.

I want to -- I really want to. According to William J. Evans, director of the Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, "Regular aerobic exercise increases life expectancy by decreasing the risk of a host of chronic diseases." And I know I need to -- I'm 35 years old, those last few pounds of baby weight aren't going to melt off by themselves. I just can't figure out how to squeeze a work out into my already over-scheduled schedule.

I commute 40 miles each way to my office, a trip that can take 45 minutes or nearly two hours, depending on traffic, the weather, and the time of day. Most of the fitness and exercise classes that are offered by my town's community center start by 6 p.m. -- there's no way for me to make it back there on time.

Work out at home? It's a great idea, in theory. In practice, though? I never do it. If I'm home, I'm doing laundry, or cooking, or cleaning, or doing freelance work, or wrangling the youngest kids, and if I'm not doing any of those things, then I'm probably asleep -- or longing to be. After getting up with the kids durng the night -- and it seems like someone or another is always up at night -- the idea of getting up even earlier just so I can sweat seems torturous. Work out after the kids are in bed? That's when I catch up on my freelance work (please note the timestamp on this blog post)!

What's stopping me from joining a gym? Myself, I guess. And time. I don't know when I'd go, even if I really wanted to sweat in public. (Yeah, I don't have a good answer for this one. Especially since some experts say that three 10-minute workouts can be as good for you as a single 30-minute session.)

Compounding the problem is the guilt. I already spend so much time away from my kids; how can I justify taking more time for myself?

OK, after writing all of this out, even I can tell that they're really just bad excuses. But still... I'm stuck. How do you working moms make time to exercise?

Read the comments here, browse through the blog's archives, and share your thoughts in the comments (you don't need to be a member of Work It, Mom! to do so).

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