I wanted to share this picture of me doing a mom version of Pilates in hopes that it would encourage you and perhaps even make you laugh. There is so much going on in this picture! Notice the mess? Notice my 8 year old sitting next to me with his school books. I am helping him identify the subject and predicate, while attempting to go into elbow plank. Notice the rips and bite marks in my yoga mat? Those are not from me, just sayin'. My three and one year old think its awesome when I get on the floor because then its time to wrestle! And my teen was laughing at me while she took this picture.
I can think of tons of excuses to put off moving my body. There are dirty dishes, kids that need to be educated and the never ending laundry and mess. But I decided during my year of grace that I was going to carve out 30 minutes most days to get moving! I came to the conclusion that I will never have the house in order, kids not needing me and all chores done so that I can exercise. I stopped waiting for ideals and came to the conclusion that the world will not fall apart in 30 minutes. But I didn't start with 30 minutes. In fact, a friend had posted an elbow plank challenge and day one was a 20 second elbow plank. That's how I started, 20 seconds.
In her book The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., explains the many benefits of exercise. Just 15 minutes has shown to reduce cravings as well as reduce stress. It's also been shown to be as powerful an antidepressant as Prozac and studies have shown that your brain gets bigger and faster when you exercise!
What I found most exciting is, according to McGonigal, in 2010 an analysis of ten different studies on exercise was conducted and it was shown that five minute doses of exercise (not hour long torture sessions) had the biggest effect on stress and mood improvement. So, what kind of exercise or movement is best? The kind you enjoy and will actually do.
After you check with a doctor and make sure you can safely move your body, find an activity you enjoy and start doing it! The criteria for what is considered exercise (now referred to as movement) is: any activity where you are not still (sitting, standing or laying down) and you are not eating while doing it! So get thinking, find something you love to do and go for it, even if you only have five minutes at a time.