Monday, January 18, 2010

What Motivates You to Exercise?

During post college days and before marriage, I met Sue. She and my roommate would talk about eating right and exercise for hours. Although, it was when I flew up to the Bay Area only a couple of years ago did I get to know Sue better. We shared a hotel room and stood on the sidelines together to root on our friend as our friend completed her first half Ironman for her 40th birthday.
After all those years of motivating and encouraging others to live and be their healthy best, here is Sue encourging us on after discovering for herself  the challenges of being healthy while also being a wife and mom to two energetic boys. Sometimes taking care of ourselves is the last thing on our minds.

What Motivates You to Exercise?
by guest blogger Sue Butzow

In my younger days I managed a fitness center and taught aerobics. A group of people waiting for me and the promise of a paycheck were great motivators for me. I exercised regularly and never imagined I would go for months without even thinking about my heart rate.

Now I am the mom of two very active boys, and for the past eight years it has been really difficult to get motivated to work out regularly. I tried dropping my newborn off at the gym childcare many times with no success. I took sporadic long walks that first year of my son’s life wondering if I would ever work out again. Fortunatel, my husband got laid off that year and I joined Team in Training while he took care of our son.

As my life changes so do my motivators. I wanted to share how I get motivated to exercise and perhaps it might motivate you too!

1. Join a group.

As I mentioned, I joined Team in Training about seven years ago. This wonderful organization trains people for different sporting events in exchange for their fundraising efforts. I raised $2K to help support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, exercised regularly with people who would become lifelong friends, and in the end, I ran 26.2 miles! Some people might think this experience is too intense for them, but my girlfriend joined Team in Training last year. She had never run for exercise before, and she successfully completed a half-marathon to celebrate her 60th birthday! Impressive!

There are other exercise groups to join-walking groups, hiking groups, and exercise classes. One of my favorite exercises is walking or running with a friend. Talking with a friend makes the time go by so much quicker. Exercising with people provides accountability and also counts as a social event!

Last fall a girlfriend and I walked 30 minutes to our favorite Mexican restaurant, had lunch and then walked quickly back to our grade school to pick up our kids. My muscles were sore the next day, and I had enjoyed a great lunch without any guilt! Although I can’t do this on a weekly basis, it was a really fun way to exercise and catch up with a friend.

2. Exercise Gadgets

I’m really not very technical, but there are a few gadgets out there that make exercise so much more enjoyable for me. The first one is my iPod Nano. My running music gets me going when I really don’t want to. I get lost in the music and forget about all the other things I’d rather be doing. Each song is special to me-Toby Keith takes me back to when my husband and I were dating, the Vacation Bible School songs have a great beat, and my favorite is an aerobic version of 867-5309. When I listen to my music, it’s like walking (or running) down memory lane.

Another gadget that motivates me is an accessory for the Nano which is called Nike + iPod. It is a receiver that connects to a Nano, and then there is a sensor for your shoe. With this gadget, I can see my time, distance and pace. I can set a goal for time or distance, and a voice chimes in when I’ve reached my half-way point. It’s like having my own personal trainer. With my Nike + iPod I can really exercise with just a good pair of shoes. I don’t even have to wear exercise clothes. I can go for a quick walk in between my Bible study and picking up the preschool carpool. At the end of my workout, I might even hear “Congratulations, this is Lance Armstrong, and you’ve reached your goal.” Now that’s cool!

These are my major motivators for exercise for this time in my life! What motivates you to exercise? What songs make you want to move?

Sue Butzow has a degree in Physical Education and a masters in Organizational Development. She has worked for Oracle and Sun Microsystems and currently a stay-at-home mom to two boys, Luke (8) and Will (4).

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  1. I love this and I loved learning about the Nike + iPod...sounds very cool!

    I have made exercise a regular part of my life for years. Sometimes life gets in the way and I backslide a bit but that rarely happens now, as exercise is a regular part of my life...sort of like a habit. I used to attend Jazzercise in San Diego but the town we moved to in Oregon doesn't have Jazzercise. Fortunately, we live in a beautiful, sort of woodsy, neighborhood with quail and deer everywhere, that has very little traffic so now I walk. I was walking 2 to 4 miles 4-5 mornings per week. I walk in 5* weather all bundled up, I walk in snow and ice and sometimes even rain. It's just part of my routine. However, I recently went back to work 3 days a week and am having a hard time fitting long walks into work mornings, esp. with these short winter days. It gets light at 7:15am and dark before I get home from work at 6pm. So...I have given up on the idea of getting anything more than 1 mile (figured a mile is better than nothing!) in on those days and try to make up for it on days off. The one great thing that helps me go, even on not-so-nice days, is my dogs. They LOVE their walks!! Just yesterday I read an article that said that people in Europe who are dog owners get an average of 1 hour (30 min twice daily) of walking in per day with their dogs. The article suggested that people who have dogs and walk them tend to get more walking in than those that don't own dogs but walk for fitness. I can certainly vouch for that. I also walk with a friend during the summer but she's a late sleeper and a fair-weather walker so we rarely walk together in the winter. It certainly is, as you said, much more fun walking with a friend :-)

    Thanks you for the great information and I will try to do better in regards to your blog, Sharon. My new job has just kinda taken over, for now. ~Suzy

  2. @suzy! So good for you being dedicated to exercise even during the rain and sleat! Going back to work is a huge adjustment and it takes awhile to figure out how to rearrange life sometimes. hang in there and thanks for being such a faithful blog reader too!

  3. I too walked for a long time, but needed more because I wasn't loosing weight just maintaining. Then I started getting up very early in the morn and going to the gym. That meant I had to go to bed early. sometimes that didn't happen and then I couldn't get up to work out in time to get to work. I went back to walking, but speed walking. Just this December for my b-day my kids gave me a Wii fit. I have done it for 32 days and I'm not sure how much exercise I have been getting, but I am improving in my strength. A song that keeps me motivated is the song, "I'm Blue."

  4. Great ideas Sue. I especially like the one of walking to your favorite Mexican Restaurant-- although I'd be tempted to have a deep fried dish and one too many margaritas :) Exercising with friends is the best and music is a must!!

  5. Catherine McCulloughJanuary 21, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    This was great. I too have been feeling guilty about not exercising regularly (along with feeling the weight add on!). It's nice to be reminded of how I can motivate myself and get back out there -- especially from another busy mom of two!

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.