Exercise is important. We all know it. We all hear it. Sometimes we ignore it. But it's a truth that you can't escape. The health benefits of exercise are numerous, from reducing stress and anxiety, improving low mood, improving immune function and reducing many cardiovascular and hormonal imbalances (think type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
But what about those of us who honestly lead very busy lives, juggling work, family/kids, study, or even all of the above? A gym membership is amazing if you can get there to make it worth the dollars spent.
I have been a regular gym goer for many years, and during my last pregnancy we moved house and the first thing I did was sign up for a (2 year) gym membership at a local gym. Which was lovely, and the staff there were amazing. Unfortunately I did not anticipate how busy my life would get, and I think I managed to make it there less than 30 times. In two years. You do the math on dollars wasted on that one. While well intentioned, I just couldn't get there around my work/study timetable plus within the hours the creche were open.
So instead I started finding different options for exercising at home, around my schedule. The kind of thing where I could go "Oh! Baby is in the high chair eating his dinner and I have 30 mins until he starts having a hissy fit, and I have to do some administrative work and fit in some study this evening so the time to exercise is RIGHT NOW." and drop everything and just get it done. Other days I'd set my alarm 30 mins before my normal get up time to squeeze it in before I start my day.
It is helpful if you have a way to stream the internet onto your TV. We have a Chromecast which has turned out to be a great investment - it allows you to stream YouTube or other media sites from your computer or phone directly onto the TV. They're inexpensive too so worth looking into if this is something you'd like to do.
Of course it is important to check with your doctor before embarking on any new exercise regime if you have any underlying health issues or have not exercised for a while.
So - here are some suggestions!
YouTube - Sarah Beth Yoga
This was one of the first video channels I started using to ease back into exercise. It categorises the yoga workouts based on length of time and style, making it easy to choose a video that suits your level and the time you have available to do your exercise. Yoga is well known for its many health benefits, and is especially worth incorporating into your routine if you suffer from stress, anxiety, low mood, or tight muscles.
Cost: FREE, with paid options available.
Yoga With Kassandra
I came across this channel while looking for other Yoga options when I wanted to stretch out my hips, and found it to be amazing - there are SO many videos of various lengths and styles that you won't have a problem finding a variety of videos that suit you.
Cost: FREE, with paid options available.
Fitness Blender have soooo many videos, so there is plenty of variety. They have heaps of workouts and many of them require no extra equipment, so if you don't have any weights or other fitness equipment you can still get an awesome body weight workout. To me this is a great bonus as it means not only lower cost but also you can just chuck the video on and go with no set up required. It also has low impact and advanced options for many of the routines as well as varying time lengths.
Sweat With Kalya
Sweat with Kayla is an app that you install on your phone. It has a few different styles of workout aimed at building strength, losing weight, toning and exercising post pregnancy. If I am to be completely honest, I found the app a little confusing, and it took some effort to find out whether equipment is needed (it is, for quite a few of the workouts). As an all in one workout program that includes meal ideas and progress tracking it's good - and you can subscribe for 7 days for free to see if it is suitable for you. I have kept it here as there are a lot of great reviews for it and being an app means you can exercise anywhere - but the routines and exercises didn't really grab or motivate me. As a guided program and all in one app that you work through and track your fitness goals however it's a great option.
Cost: $19.95/month (cancel any time) with a 7 day free trial.
*** MY PICK OF THE BUNCH ***
TIFFXO is a subscription program which includes workouts (fitness AND relaxation), meal plans and progress tracking. What I like about this one as it spells out every day what to do and what meals to make (if that's something that you find helpful) as well as other tips along the way. The workouts are 20 minutes each day and what's awesome is that because they are a martial arts style - you don't need any equipment OR shoes. So you can literally get up out of bed, chuck on some pants and a top (or as I have been known to do, stay in pjs!) go to your lounge, and get it done. You can also choose to do the extra 10 minutes to make it a 30 minute workout. Also, the FB community is amazingly supportive!
Cost: $39/month - no subscription, you just pay in advance for the next month.
Les Mills On Demand
Eeeeek I am so excited for this!! I stumbled across this accidentally by just doing a chance search on YouTube for "Les Mills at home". If any of you have done (and LOVE) Les Mills classes at the gym, then you may be as excited as I am about this. It is NOT yet available in Australia (cmon guys, you're NZ and we're basically your siblings over here) but you can sign up on the site to get notified when its available. I cannot wait to give it a whirl.
So there you have it - hopefully there is something in here to spark a bit of motivation to get moving, I'd love to hear how you go with it!