You know, sometimes it can be hard for homeschoolers to get enough exercise. It is really easy for us to just lounge around the house, surrounded by books on the couch, or glued to our computer screens all day. Who has time for exercise?? I know that this is certainly an issue in our house. However, there are some ways we try to get around this. Because, as unimportant as exercise seems, it really is important – and I’m preaching to myself here. I greatly dislike exercise. Basically, this post is for those of you homeschoolers who don’t participate in gym class or an exercise co-op.
–When we first began homeschooling, my father would set my brother and me up with a P.E. session in our garage a few times a week. He would lay out mats and blankets, and then have us do jumping jacks, leg lifts, sit-ups, crunches, running in place, etc. He would then send my brother running around our block a couple of times…and I would go out on my bike for about twenty minutes. This lasted for a few years, but eventually faded out. I’m pretty sure that was the most P.E. we’ve ever had in our homeschool experience – he was a good teacher!
–Then a few years later, my mom took over homeschooling, and since our exercise program had faded out, she came up with different ways to make us exercise. With some of our curriculum, she had us running in place, doing jumping jacks (at one point I actually sprained my calf muscle while doing jumping jacks, haha), and going out on our bikes in the afternoon.
–When that year was over, she had to get even more creative. We purchased a Wii, and all of us started doing Wii Fit, and other vigorous Wii games as our either daily or multiple-time-a-week exercise. We still use this option occasionally.
–During my last two years of high school, I began each semester by waking up early and working out on our treadmill before school began. Eventually, this exhausted me and I gave up (I told you I don’t like exercising).
What do we do now? Well, pretty much a mixture. Definitely not anything consistent, so don’t look to me for an example of exercise, haha! I think I’m mainly sharing this in case there are any other unmotivated-when-it-comes-to-exercise homeschoolers out there. We take occasional walks with the dogs (which keeps us from walking at a sluggish pace), sometimes work out on the treadmill, and play the Wii. Now, my parents have set into motion a disciplinary plan: When my younger siblings get in trouble, they have to run laps around our block. It helps let out their emotions AND tones their muscles. So, though that isn’t consistent exercise, it does help.
Now, so far all I’ve really been talking about is cardio exercise – exercise that increases your heart rate. I’ve taken a few exercise/health courses, and have learned that cardio exercise is by far the most important. It is actually recommended that teenagers get at least thirty minutes a day of cardio exercise. Obviously, this doesn’t really happen in my life, but there is another kind of exercise that I’m really good at. See, there are three main types of exercise:
We’ve already checked off cardio, but what about flexibility? In all honesty, I’m not that flexible. I think I’m more flexible than I truly realize – meaning, if I wore looser clothing, I would be able to move a lot easier. I think it’s mostly my stiff jeans, straight skirts, and fitted blouses that keep me from feeling as flexible as I am. However, if you, the homeschooler, would like to work on your flexibility, Wii Yoga is always an excellent choice. Painful, but excellent.
So what’s this about muscular exercise? Well, this is the one kind of exercise that I can say I:
- Don’t mind
- Actually enjoy
- Am pretty good at
See, I injured my right shoulder over three years ago, and went through several procedures involving extensive physical therapy, injections, TENS units, pain patches, MRIs, and narcotic drugs to try to help it. Nothing worked, in fact, most of it made my injury worse, and my pain drastically increased. I ended up having surgery on it December of 2010. It was actually a lot worse after the surgery – my surgeon had accidentally tightened the joint so much that I could hardly move my arm. He had taken care of the original injury, but created a huge problem in the process. It took nine more months of intensive physical therapy, but I ended up coming out of it doing push-ups. That’s pretty much when my habit of muscular exercise began. My physical therapist left me with doing two main exercises: Push-ups, and Dips.
It hurt, yes, but eventually I began to like the burn in my muscles, and the feeling of building up my body. It was something I could see/feel the results from, and I began to enjoy it. Since then I have added sit-ups and crunches to my routine, and hope to add pull-ups sometime soon.
One more thing you might want to take into consideration: One of the biggest things in order to exercise is to find a time that works for you. I live in the mountains, so when winter rolls around, we have to get creative. Meaning, waiting for those warm days to go for walks or play basketball, and being extra active inside. Also, it’s important to figure out what time of day works best for you. As much as I didn’t like getting up early to exercise, if I didn’t do it before school started, I would run out of time/motivation/inspiration to exercise.
So there you have it – possible ways for the homeschooler who dislikes exercise to stay fit!