Fitness Training for Life and Adventure

Melony is a writer and mom who promotes intentional health and wellness through good healthy choices, original recipes, by keeping fit so that no matter what adventures life brings, we're ready and able to tackle anything. Faith, Family & Fitness...

Melony is a winner of Top 25 Health & Wellness Moms - 2012

What's one tip you'd give to moms struggling to make time for physical activity?

One thing that really struck me was when someone told me that you would not think about leaving your home without brushing your teeth, so if you think of exercise in the same way, you would not go without some sort of exercise or activity as part of your day. We often think if we don't workout for hours at a time, then we have not been active and the "All-or-nothing" trap is easy to fall into. It is okay to just do a couple of sets of squats during your lunch break if that is all you have time for. Exercise can be anything from walking the dog, to climbing the stairs to the 10th floor of your office block, it does not have to be in the gym. Once you see exercise as a habit and a lifestyle it is easy to find ways to do it. I find that exercise starts as a mindset, and then overflows to how you put it into practice. It is an awareness. If you really want to exercise, you will find a way. If you find it a challenge to fit it into your day, do what you can. Start looking at your time and seeing where you can change habits to accommodate your exercise time. Missing one workout should not be cause for throwing in the towel, or getting discouraged because life happens, kids get sick, holidays mess with our schedules. Progress is a wonderful thing! Knowing that we can pick up and keep on going where we left off is a wonderful and liberating way of looking at exercise. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon, little by little, some here and some there and before you know it, it will be part of your routine and what's more it can become part of your family time too. As women we are hard on ourselves sometimes and we need to show ourselves compassion sometimes and other times we can reach for goals that motivate and challenge us.There will be both on the journey to live active and healthy lives.

What's your best advice for moms trying to get healthy?

The first thing I say is that your efforts to get and stay healthy are a journey and perfection is not a realistic goal. You have to start where you are and set your sights on where you want to go. I also truly believe that staying healthy starts from the inside out, so identifying problem areas within your thought patterns, body chemistry and nutrition need to be addressed before you head out and buy a gym membership. Most of the battle is fought in the kitchen and from there everything else follows. Exercise can't be an obsession, nor should counting calories be, your focus should be making the healthiest choices you can based on your bodies needs in the kitchen. Then being active in a way that fits in naturally with your personality and preferences. When you are a new mom with a baby your resources and energy levels will be different to a 45 year old hockey mom's and you need to accept that. As I say, it is a journey and you can't compare yourself to someone else, your needs and strengths are unique.

Another very important thing in your journey is to have someone walk beside you in your journey towards health. Whether it be a friend, family member or spouse, we are stronger when we do things together, and there is a measure of accountability that works when we are encountering bumps along the road. To have to confess that you messed up and ate a whole chocolate cake to a friend may just be the deterrent you need to succeed. It is a lot easier to show up for a walk around the block if you know your walking buddies will be waiting for you, not to mention cheering you on. Exercise should be fun for the most part. So to sum it up, being realistic and realizing it is a journey together with accountability and support is the best advice I can give.

What motivates you to stay active while raising a family?

To maintain the energy needed to keep up with a busy modern family you need to stay in shape. No matter whether you are a new mom or a grandmother, staying healthy and active is key to enjoying time with your family. Exercise is not only a wonderful stress reliever, but it sets an example for the next generation who find themselves too attached to their electronic devices to be active. It is important to me to be a good example to my children. We are bombarded with so much that could compromise our health both in the grocery store and in the environment and so staying active and making healthy choices as a mom, is not only my responsibility for myself, but my responsibility to pass on to my family.

As caregivers we give a lot of ourselves for our loved ones and that is a good thing, serving others is rewarding and beings a sense of satisfaction to us as women. When we are running on empty then negative emotions can creep in and there is a tenancy to be overwhelmed by them. Let's face it we are emotional beings. Staying active is a way to nurture our minds, souls and spirits so that we can be there for our families to meet their needs joyfully.

In my own experience, when I am in the midst of my swimming training, my mind is not at all focused on my "to do" list or the stresses that come with motherhood. This gives me time to refocus and remember that I am not only a mom, but a woman. It helps me to touch base with how I am feeling, how my body is feeling and to take the time to listen to the signals my body is sending me. In our hurried lives, often we don't stop long enough to take note. Exercise is a good way to stay in tune.

I encourage women not to feel guilty about taking time out to workout because as moms we can often feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. A result of being active and healthy is a clear and industrious mind that allows you to be creative and efficient. Due to the challenges we face in life, we need all the creativity we can get. I don't recommend using exercise as a form of escapism for the long term, but it beats being a couch potato or developing other addictions to deal with emotional issues.

These are just some of the reasons I continue to be active and find the motivation to put on my running shoes or put on my bathing suit.

When my children were little we did not go to the gym, but we worked out together in my living room, they did yoga along with me. Now that they are older, they watch what I do and want to do it too. I love hearing my daughter say, is it time for MY turn on the treadmill yet?