Jo Burgess, Organisational Expert and Founder of the Life Sorted app says: "Let's cut the BS… I DO NOT like getting up in the morning to exercise. In fact, I freakin' hate it. But, I DO IT anyway."
Jo wakes up at 4:30am to exercise, she believes that exercise has changed her life even if she looks and feels shocking in the morning. "I wouldn't have it any other way because the benefits are so valuable and outweighs the pain of getting up early."
"The hardest step is the first step. The key to exercise is NOT overthinking it; otherwise you'll talk yourself out of it. Have you heard about the five second rule coined by my favourite, Mel Robbins?
When you start feeling hesitant towards something, start counting down from 5-4-3-2-1 and launch into action.
This five-second decision making technique has literally changed my life! It removes any possibility of my brain talking me out of doing something. Remember the only limitations we have in life are the ones we create ourselves!
So, the next time you see that pile of washing or are about to jump into some Lycra, don't delay… instead, hold your breath and start that five-second countdown and GO! GO! GO!"
Jo has put together a list of the four massive mindset benefits of exercise for busy mamas and women:
Improves Mood, Patience And Stress Management
Sometimes throughout the day those little 'cheeky monkeys' can really test your patience. I have to say 15 years ago when I started exercising regularly, the first major change I noticed was the uplift in my mood and increase in my level of patience. The smallest things, like the kids leaving wet towels on their beds (again!) or spilled Weet-bix on the kitchen floor, would set me off with a negative vibe and ruin the whole day. But, after I started jogging in the mornings with my girlfriends I found that my overall mood stabilised and I became more mentally resistant to 'all the things' life threw at me. I was more relaxed and just generally not as uptight.
Let's face it, life is stressful! Between work and family commitments, unexpected obstacles will arise out of the blue (new problems seem to blindside me all the time); with all this stress you need to learn how to manage it or minimise it – preferably both! Well you guessed it… EXERCISE!
These days I do about 4-5 exercise sessions a week (a mix of cardio, resistance training and a session with my PT – who I have been seeing for 15 years religiously), may I add… all nice and early before the whole family is awake.
Exercise de-stresses my mind. I honestly feel mentally clearer and any 'weight' on my shoulders instantly lightens after a kickass workout. Scientifically this is due to the mental benefits of aerobic exercise, according to Harvard Health, "exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones", such as adrenaline and cortisol – which make you feel 'less-stressed'.
Increases Mindfulness And Develops Awareness
Have you ever lived somewhere and then one day noticed something you didn't even know existed… until you looked?
Well that's what exercise can be like. When you get outside to go for a jog/walk, your brain starts to slow down and becomes more mindful and present. When you walk around your neighbourhood, you start to notice the houses, parks, gardens, and the people in your community. When I first moved into my neighbourhood it took me two bloody years to realise there was an oval only a few streets away for the kids to play (facepalm). By being 'in the moment' you're teaching yourself to be more present and mindful.
So go feel the sun on your skin (don't forget the SPF and hat), the breeze in your hair, and hear the waves if you're lucky enough to live near a beach. One of my favourite things to do is walk in the rain and feel the raindrops on my face (much more refreshing than those fancy face mists). The next time you have that soul-crushing day from hell, get out and go for a walk to clear your brain and get present in the moment. And who knows, maybe in the process you may discover a new playground for your kids or a chic new cafe to get your next morning coffee at.
Enjoy More 'Me-Time'
As a mum, I spend most of my thoughts making sure the people I love are looked after. That's perfectly normal, but sometimes it's good to step away from selfless thinking and have some good ole 'me-time'. You need to be a little selfish and sometimes alone to relax and unwind from the chaos we find ourselves while raising a family.
It could be as simple as having a cuppa while watering the garden or going for a quick jog to be alone with your thoughts. It's so important to realise that in order to look after the ones you love you need to first look after yourself. If this means maintaining your sanity with some exercise then so be it! And, to clarify me-time does not always refer to being solo, I love to exercise with my friends. I love a good old chit-chat, it's good for the soul. It gives me a chance to debrief on anything that is stressing me out or get advice regarding a 'tough' decision I need to make. Always be there to support a friend, life is full of surprises and you never know when you might need them for support.
I Get More Sh*T Done! (Increases Productivity)
Honestly… the last thing I wanna do when I wake up at 4:30am is exercise, but I push myself because my day will be better for it. When you get up this early you get more hours to do things you normally couldn't if you slept in. And what's awesome is that everyone is still asleep so after a quick workout you can return home and do some tasks in peace and quiet! I also get to bed earlier as a consequence of being up early which ensures a better night's rest. Waking up this early increases my sense of achievement and self-confidence. I feel like I accomplish so much more on my exercise days. A workout, a load of washing, make my bed, tidied the house, a relaxing breakfast, dropped the kids to school – all before I get to my desk by 9am.
Jo concludes: I never sugar-coat it. Let's be real after a laborious day the idea of exercising isn't fun is it? But when was the last time you exercised and felt the same when you came back? Never. You ALWAYS feel better after exercise.
Exercise does wonders for your body and especially the mind. Take that first step to change your life and you'll never look back. I know I didn't fifteen years ago when I made the first step. Now it's time to make yours… I'll help you out with the first step.
Tip: If you're a bit apprehensive about starting to exercise, just commit to going for a walk once a week, and then slowly increase the frequency. Big procrastinator? I've got the solution… inputting your exercise sessions into your calendar will help make sure you stick to your schedule. I simply put all my exercise slots into my Life Sorted app then set reminders beforehand to 'get ready'. Then whenever I'm looking at my schedule in the 'week-view' I can see where and when I'll be exercising and can plan ahead to avoid any clashes. Thankfully, with Life Sorted if events do clash the app will notify me. #winning!