Doing Just A Little Bit More
As part of Do More with Strathmore, we’ve been challenging people to start doing more in their everyday lives. One of the people we challenged is Mummy blogger Donna. Here’s how she got on…
Exercise and me…we’re not the best of friends, to be honest. Sometimes it feels like too much effort. Other times, there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do and keep fit. But it’s necessary isn’t it? Especially when you’re a parent, trying to stay healthy and set a good example to the little ones.
Last year, exercise and I came to an uneasy truce, when I started doing a half-hour gym class every day, while the kids were at school. It was enough. But this year I’ve gone back to work. I start a little later, so I can take the boys to school before going into the office, but this means I finish later too. And by the time I get home, eat dinner and help the boys with their homework…
Sorry, gym. It looks like you and I are through.
But it’s amazing how quickly you find yourself wheezing just climbing the stairs, isn’t it? And with all of us guilty of hibernating during the cold Scottish Winter – eating too much comfort food – it became obvious that we had to do more.
But how? When?
Ever heard that saying about Mohammed and the mountain? Well it occurred to me that if I wasn’t able to go to exercise, I should bring it to me. Or rather, to us. When Strathmore challenged us to Do More, I made a few changes to our regular routines.
Over the last month, here’s what we’ve done:
Ditched the car
We’re the type of family who would drive to the corner shop. But not any more. Our town centre is 20 minutes’ walk from the house. So we stroll to the post office or the supermarket and back. The boys sometimes take their bikes or scooters, but I put on my trainers and stride along behind them. It’s a cardio workout, and carrying the shopping bags home is a good bit of weight training.
Family outings… outdoors
We used to take the boys to the cinema, or to a soft play. But with Spring sneaking up on us, we’re trying to get more fresh air. We live close to a number of historic sites and castles, and the boys love playing knights and kings. Or we go for a stroll by the canal. Making our outings outdoors has given us rosy cheeks and happy memories.
Eat well, drink more
I’ve taken a long hard look at the food in our fridge. We’re drinking more water, and sticking to a healthier diet now!
The boys often go to the park near our house with their friends. I used to watch them from the window, doing the ironing or some other household chore. Well, forget the laundry pile. Going with them is a lot more fun – and you should see how thrilled they are when Mum is there to climb trees, have a go on the swings, and race them down the slide.
How many of us sit at our desk, munching on a sandwich and working through the lunch hour? Putting on my iPod and trainers, I’ve been making the effort at least every other day to walk 20 minutes away from my office, and then 20 minutes back. It’s no different to walking on a treadmill – if I could be bothered to go to the gym! And it makes me feel energised for my afternoon workload.
Active drop-offs (and pick-ups)
How many times a week do we drop off and pick up our kids from clubs and activities? I do it about three times (that’s six trips). With a bit of planning, these can be used as exercise opportunities. Dropping Brodie at Beavers, we either cycle into town together, or I take his bike in the car and leave it at the scout hut. Then an hour later, I jump on my bike and ride down to collect him, so we can cycle home together. It’s a necessary trip, but doesn’t feel like a chore if we make it a chance for some fitness and fresh air.
So there you have it - just a few little tweaks to our regular routines. These are things we would be doing anyway; we’re just doing them differently.
And has it made a difference?
Well, my husband – the lovely Mr G – has been able to go without his asthma inhaler for the past couple of weeks. I’m no longer wheezing like a 40-a-day smoker when I climb the stairs. And after virtually shoe-horning ourselves into our clothes following the excesses of Christmas, I’m happy to report the boys’ school trousers are getting looser and we’re all feeling a little more comfortable in our outfits.
I used to sweat it out in Lycra for these kinds of results! So I think I’ve done humanity a great favour by sparing them a view we could all happily live without.
Donna is a Scotland-based journalist and web marketer who also blogs over at Mummy Central. She lives in West Lothian, just outside Edinburgh, along with her husband and two sons (Brodie and Blake).