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How to Find Time to Exercise

There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. How am I supposed to fit my family, my work, my health, and the 10 other things I need to do in 1 short day?

As a mom of little ones, my kids come before my exercise. I can try to put me first but a 1-year old can’t feed himself and change his own diaper. And a 5-year old would eat crackers for dinner if I didn’t serve dinner.

And it’s not like these are ‘shoulds’ that I shoudn’t have. After a work day, I miss my kids. I have no desire of dropping them off at the child care in the gym. I want to be with them. I have no energy after they go to bed, plus exercising at night elevates cortisol level which can disrupt a healthy sleep cycle. I don’t want to wake up at 5 am to exercise. I’m not lazy, but I value sleep and taking care of my adrenals.

One day while walking around the national mall in Washington DC, my husband dared me to race our son. There’s no way he can beat me. He’s only 7, and I’m still bigger, faster, and stronger.
 
He did. And I wasn’t even pretending to lose.

Few days later, my friends were talking about their Fitbits. For the longest time, I resisted tracking exercise. I just want to do it for fun, and I didn’t want to obsess over numbers. They were creating challenges for themselves, and I’m competitive and had to get in the game. So I finally bought one. I made one of those impulse decisions–didn’t even research it. Whatever device they have I bought.

Best decision ever.

I stopped arguing with my hubby about who’s getting up to respond to the kids’ 7837 requests. Suddenly I don’t mind getting up because I will get more steps in!
 
Funny, but true.

I realized how sedentary my work days are, and appreciated my kids for making me move so much when they’re around!
 
So my next challenge was to find the time to exercise. How am I going to fit it in my already over-booked day?

The kids play outside after school all afternoon and want to ride their bikes.
 
And I want to spend time with them. 

We started walking/running/biking to the elementary school near by.
The kids bike way faster so they push me to walk-run to catch up. The baby’s in the stroller. I needed a new stroller and a jogging stroller was THE only way to go.
 
We have done that few times this week.

The school playground is right next to the track. We all played and I got to do few extra laps. Win win for all. It was a great feeling to know that I can both be with the kids and fit my exercise in.
 
As long as the weather permits, we’re doing this every day!

So back to those people you really need in your life, these are your friends and family who will support and challenge you.
 
You are who you hang out with!
One of my friends started a fitness whatsapp group so we motivate each other to exercise and pass on temptation foods. There’s this one friend who got 17,000 steps in a day. Realty? How am I supposed to compete with that? And the friend who’s always sharing her new food finds. And the friend who runs 5k’s left and right.
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Then I have my kids. My 5-year old started wearing my old pedometer and this boy gets steps as he sleeps. 10,000 steps in 6 hours!!!! He checks on my steps every day, and gets so excited when he finds himself ahead. 
 
My 7-year old wants to race me all the time, ‘mama, you got to practice!’ Yesterday, It took me 1:43 minutes to finish a lap. He did it in 1:30 minutes. I tried to beat him. Fail. 1:33 minutes. I so proud of him.
 
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And I’ve also got my hubby who’s part of a biking team, and he goes on amazing full day and extended day bike rides. This picture is from his recent 3-day biking trip in North Carolina.
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There’s a culture of activity around me that I wasn’t taking advantage of.

Sometimes, our challenges can become our opportunities. I want to keep up with my boys, I want to go on bike rides, hikes, and runs. They are my cheerleaders!

Look at things from a different perspective. Turn your challenges into opportunities. There is a way, you can figure it out. 

Now’s your turn.

What makes it difficult for you to exercise (or stick to any other health goal)?
How can you turn your challenges into opportunities?

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got. Leave me a comment right below!
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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • F.J. April 2, 2016, 4:54 am

    Hi, Nour.. It’s always a pleasure to read your articles and updates. You are a motivational personality. Being in UAE is in itself a challenge for doing exercise outdoors. I am working mother of 2 kids.. One teenager and the other 8 yr old. Hypothyroid since 9 yrs with less control over thyroid profile. Currently on 125mcg dose of levothyroxine. BMI stands at 34 kg/m2 with h/o PCOS and umbilical hernia repair. No time to exercise and biggest weakness is “food”… Please help!!
    Recent labs indicate impaired glucose tolerance and hyperlipidemia.. Depressed and tired mother…

    • Nour Zibdeh April 11, 2016, 4:43 pm

      Thank you for writing. You will receive a private email from me and I hope I can be of further help

  • Dounia June 4, 2016, 11:09 am

    Having the long-term motivation to make the new healthy habit a true lifestyle change has been tough. I have developed great exercise habits and kicked added sugar for several months only to regress to old familiar unhealthy ways again when a new job starts or something else stressful happens (or not). Any tips for how to maintain that consistency needed to make it a lifestyle?