Health and Fitness – Exercise For Busy Women

Yesterday my 12-year-old American niece posted the following comment on my Facebook wall: “Aunt Janice!!!! I tried vegemite today!!!! It’s so gross I almost gagged!”


I replied that I could have saved her the trouble since I knew that that would happen. Well, I am American after all, and as most Australians know, Americans hate vegemite. So even though I live in Australia, I don’t eat it. I stick to butter.

Makes sense right? I don’t like a particular food, but I need to and like to eat, so I choose something else.

I can also apply this “don’t like it/choose something else” philosophy to exercise. I hate swimming. So, I run instead. This works for me. I need to exercise to stay healthy. And I like running because it energises me and clears away the stress and cobwebs from my head.

But sometimes this sensible philosophy flies out the window and I end up doing exercises that I hate. Usually it’s because some deluded part of my brain thinks that if I do this or that I’ll look like Jennifer Aniston.

Has this ever happened to you? You start an exercise program because you want to have energy and feel healthier. But instead of choosing exercises that motivate you, you find yourself thinking the whole time how much you hate it (e.g., my butt hurts just contemplating doing a spin class).

As busy mums, we have so much on our plates, and it’s easy to come up with both real and imagined excuses for why we can’t keep our exercise commitments. So why add “because I hate it” to the list of excuses?

Instead, can I suggest that you get clear on a few points. Firstly, do you really plan to look like Jennifer Aniston? If yes, then go for it. But if not, what is your purpose? Once you’re clear on what it is, set an exercise goal that reflects it.

Secondly, ask yourself what kinds of exercise appeal to you. Do you like to exercise indoors or outside? In the water or on dry land? On your own, in a class or as part of a team? With a friend or by yourself?

Finally, in the words of my yoga teacher “honour where your body is at. Not where you think it should be”. Some days, even though I like to run, I can’t think of anything less appealing… except maybe vegemite. So on those days I try to follow her advice by doing something else, like a walk. Or maybe even just giving myself permission to do nothing without feeling guilty about it. Still working on that one, but getting better at it!

While you’re pondering this, it’s time for me to make my children’s lunch. You guessed it…. vegemite sandwiches.

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