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    Mother's Education

    Move It or Lose It

    February 23, 2017 by Dawn Duran

    [dropcap]S[/dropcap]o? How’s it going? Did you move more this month? You haven’t forgotten our challenge already, have you?

    What challenge? you ask.

    Let me remind you:

    So, mamas, will you join me in a commitment to modeling better habits and practices for your children this year so that they can experience the life-giving effects of a movement-rich life that promotes wellness of body and soul? Their future health — and yours — depends upon it.

    Many of you gave me an emphatic yes, and I plan to hold you to it!

    There are plenty of ways to move more within the comfort of your own home and the confines of your schedule! Here are some ideas to get you started.

    I know. It’s particularly difficult during the winter months to squeeze in exercise. But remember, we’re not just talking about 30-60 minutes at the gym here. We’re talking about moving more. And there are plenty of opportunities to do that within the comfort of your own home and the confines of your schedule! I’ll be sharing several ideas with you in this post that I hope will help you see how easy it is to move more and improve your health in the process, all while setting a great example for your children. It’s a win all around, isn’t it?

    First order of business: enlist the help of an alarm. Set it to sound off every 30 minutes and use it as a reminder to take a 1-2 minute movement break. Many of us can get lost sitting at the computer, or on the couch with our kids reading books, for hours at a time, but this is horrible for our bodies. We should never be still for longer than 20-30 minutes at a time maximum unless we are sleeping. And our fingers moving across the keyboard just don’t cut it!

    What qualifies as a movement break? It can merely be standing up and walking into the kitchen for a drink of water. Better yet it will involve some stretches aimed at loosening up those tight hips and shoulders. I like the ones here:


    It can also be performing some purposeful exercises, such as wall push-ups or lunges. It doesn’t have to be exercise, though – any movement counts! It’s okay if these moves feel “weird” as you introduce them to your life but if they create any physical discomfort, then you shouldn’t be doing them. Don’t push through pain – it will only lead to injury. You may need a personal and hands-on evaluation to help determine what the issue is. But I digress. Let’s get back to it.

    One way to increase movement in our days is by becoming less efficient. Yep, I just said that: you weren’t mistaken. We have so much on our plates that we become queens of efficiency at times, don’t we, mamas? Stop it – for your own good as well as for the good of those you love and who love you! So – how can we become less efficient in order to move more? Here are a few ideas:

    ::Instead of piling laundry into a basket to make only one trip out of the laundry room why not carry one armful at a time to wherever you’ll be doing your folding? This will make you take at least three trips to and from the laundry area rather than just one. The distance you travel may not be great, but you’ve just done it three times more than before, and that means more movement for you.

    ::Maybe you fold the laundry right there in the laundry room? Here’s a great way to incorporate a number of squats all while folding your laundry. Whether or not you follow this method pay attention to how she squats to get the laundry out of the front-loading machine. That’s good body mechanics, and you want to follow her lead.

    ::Do you have a basket at the bottom of the stairs that you fill with things that need to go to the second floor of your house on the next trip up? Why wait? Do it right away. In addition to walking more you’ll climb up and down the stairs and increase your heart rate in the process.

    These are just a few examples of how you can become less efficient and, in the process, become healthier. Easy peasy, right? I know you’ll come up with plenty of others as you evaluate your own daily routines.

    You can also add more movement into other daily routines. Do you have a stacked washer/dryer combo? When you’re doing laundry be sure to squat low to put the laundry in the washer – no bent backs!! Remember the body mechanics tip at the linked video above? — and reach up high on your toes to place the laundry in the dryer. The same goes for when you’re unloading the dishwasher and putting dishes away. Doing just 2-3 squats and heel raises at a time over the course of all your chores every day can really add up!

    Do you do a lot of reading with your children during the school day? Rather than snuggling on the couch why not try sitting on the floor now and then? The mere act of sitting cross-legged or saddle-style will help bring much needed range of motion to your hips and pelvis. And you’ll be using your muscles in a different way in getting back up from the floor!

    Do you find yourself sitting down while you’re talking on the phone? Why not use the ringing of the phone as an opportunity for another movement break? You can squat in place, or do some standing stretches, or merely walk laps around the house while you talk.

    Ready for a bit more of a challenge? Have you seen Katy Bowman’s 2016 Core Advent Calendar? So. Good. Try one of these moves the next time that alarm you set goes off. I dare you!

    If you’re someone who already has a consistent exercise regimen in place I challenge you to up the ante a bit this month. Go for one extra run. Increase the resistance in your lifting routine. For those of you who are not “exercisers” I challenge you to incorporate one of these ideas into your routine once a day during the week for the month of March.

    Who’s with me?

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  • Reply Katie Rose March 1, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I wasn’t here for your initial challenge, but I had coincidentally made a decision to go outside every day this year (barring extreme circumstances) and move in some way. It was hard in January. One of the days I counted my “outside” as getting the mail (a sorry 10 foot walk from the door) as my outside time because I had the flu and that was as much energy as I could muster. Other than that pitiful attempt I have only skipped one day and since it was during high winds with branches coming down I won’t hold it against myself (I don’t truly hold the sick day against myself either).

    Our yard is fenced so every morning after breakfast the kids and I go outside for an hour before we come in for chores and school. I have begun listening to podcasts and while I listen I walk laps around the yard. Occasionally I do the monkey bars or squat around picking up sticks and such. It’s been 2 months and I really feel like it is *finally* becoming a habit to get out there every day!

    I love your advice to set a movement alarm! I just counted and I have 33 different alarms set on my phone throughout the day (I know, that’s a lot, but I need them to keep myself on task moving through lessons with 3 kids and one toddler). I just realized that instead of setting new alarms I can just make sure that as each alarm goes off I can check and see that I am changing things up somehow movement and position wise to move to our next task. Even if it is just a little bit.

    I’ll have to come back to revist the links you’ve posted, because right now my Spanish alarm is going off 😉

    • Reply Dawn Duran March 2, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Ha! Your comment re: your numerous alarms brought a smile to my face, Katie – especially with respect to your closing remark.

      Congratulations and huge kudos to you for starting to feel like you’re making movement a habit that nicely fits in your daily routines. It sounds like you’ve been very successful on this front, and I am confident it will pay back in spades. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Carol February 26, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Dawn, I like your commonsense, do-able ideas. Sometimes I really don’t like living in a two-storied house because I am always forgetting things and have to go backwards & forwards all day. For a while I’ve been using the stairs for short aerobic spurts, taking two at a time. Getting a good workout on these legs of mine 🙂

    • Reply Dawn Duran February 26, 2017 at 2:34 am

      That’s brilliant, Carol! Not only are your legs getting a great workout, but so are your heart and lungs. Those short bursts also serve to jump-start your metabolism such that any activity you do in the 30ish minutes following your spurt will burn more calories – even if its simply folding laundry. Your strategy is a win on many fronts, my friend!

  • Reply Brittany February 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Love this! Stack your life! Gotta love Katy. Great article though and reminder about how easy it is to move more, especially during our daily tasks. I sure don’t have time to exercise when it doesn’t involve other stacking it with other responsibilities. ❤️❤️

    • Reply Dawn Duran February 26, 2017 at 2:32 am

      Thanks, Brittany.

  • Reply Lisa A February 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Great article, Dawn! I’ve always been appreciative that we do not have a bathroom or laundry on the main floor of the house. Up and down 10s of times each day (especially when potty training!) is a good thing. I’m looking forward to trying some of the moves you’ve linked here and I’m thinking I’ll set alarms not just for me but for everyone who’s willing to participate 🙂

    • Reply Dawn Duran February 23, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. Sounds like you have built-in opportunities for movement based on the very layout of your home. I like it! Please come back to let us know how the alarm trick works!

      • Reply Lisa A February 27, 2017 at 8:08 pm

        I wanted to let you know that the links for Katy’s Advent calendar and sitting saddle-style are not working for me. They both say “page not found”.

        • Reply Dawn February 28, 2017 at 3:19 am

          Oh, no. I wonder what happened? Thanks for letting us know, Lisa!

  • Reply Elaine February 23, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I just realized that it would be very easy for my children to not ever see me exercise since I go to the gym. Similarly, I want them to see me read my Bible, not just having it be something that I do before they get up in the morning. Maybe I’ll start moving with my daughter when she takes her exercise break during math and reading lessons.

    • Reply Dawn February 27, 2017 at 8:44 am

      That’s an excellent point, Elaine, and one that I, too, have given much thought lately. Even though I have a quiet reading time with my Bible before my boys wake up, I have recently instituted a time when we are all reading from our Bibles at the breakfast table before we begin our meal – otherwise they don’t see me modeling this important habit for them. The same absolutely applies to exercise as well, and I thank you for pointing that out!

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