Genesis 1:27 tells us “God created man in his own image.” God loves us, and He wants us to take care of our bodies since we are “the temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Busy homeschool moms juggle many things every day. We take care of our husbands and children. We educate our children. We cook, clean, and wash laundry. The days are often long, and the nights are many times short.
Somewhere in our schedules, we also need to find time to take care of our hearts, souls, strength, and minds.
We learn from Ephesians 5:29 that man does not hate his own body but cares for it and cherishes it as Christ cares for His church.
Practically speaking, how do you incorporate healthy eating and exercise into an already full day?
Five years ago, I decided to make healthier choices for myself. I was stressed out and overweight, and I had high blood pressure. I spent a lot of energy raising my six children and helping care for extended family members. I had put my health on the back burner.
The first thing I did was change my diet. I reexamined the amount of easy-to-fix processed foods I was eating and started switching to a diet that includes more vegetables and fruits. I started cooking from scratch and using fewer boxed foods. I replaced snacking on junk with high protein substitutes or fruit. I also started drinking more water and eliminated sugary drinks.
The second thing I did was add the Couch to 5K app to my phone. I looked for a local 5K as a goal for running and signed up. I also signed one of my sons up for the children’s fun run. I had no idea what I was doing. I just followed the training provided in the app.
Many times, I took my children with me for my training. I found that afternoons were the easiest time of day to incorporate exercise into my schedule. The children did the run/walk intervals with me. I trained three days per week. Did I mention I also have asthma? I had to learn how to breathe and run. It’s much harder than it sounds.
The morning of the race arrived, and it was rainy and cool. The whole family loaded up and went to the race venue. The kids did their race first, and then it was time for the 5K. It was a tough race for me. I did intervals of walking and running. There were volunteers on the course who encouraged me. I just kept moving forward. I remembered what Paul said in Hebrews 12:1—“let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
As I came to the last hill and the finish line, I was wondering what I had done to myself. I kept moving forward, and I finished the race. In my mind, I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it actually was, but it was worth the effort.
That race gave me the courage to keep training. I would pick a race and train. I progressed from 5K to 10K to a half marathon. Then, I ran my first marathon in January of 2015, two years after I started running. I will be running my 6th marathon this March.
Make It Routine
There are many ways to care for your physical bodies. Proverbs 31:17 tells us, “She girdeth her loins with strength, and she strengtheneth her arms.”
You can use exercise videos at home. You can find a strength-training plan that uses resistance to help you build your muscles. You can work out with your spouse or children. The ways to take care of your physical body are many.
My basic morning routine looks like this:
- Get up and make my bed
- Quiet time: prayers and devotions
- Eat breakfast and exercise
- Get the children up to start their morning routine while I shower
Each night I go to bed early so I can get up before my children. This enables me to take care of myself spiritually and physically before the demands of the day are upon me.
Ideas for Exercise
If you are in a season with young children, you may have to be creative as to when and where you exercise. The key is to find a place in your day where you can consistently have at least 15 minutes of purposeful movement.
Most smartphones have a health app that can assist you in tracking your daily steps. For some, that is the easiest way to get started. A good goal is10,000 steps per day. If you are not close to that, you can build up slowly each day. On the average, I get 15,000 steps a day, including my running.
You can set a goal and then break it down into smaller steps. When I set a specific distance goal for my running, I look for a training plan for that distance and incorporate it into my weekly and daily plans.
Benefits of Exercise
While it seems counterintuitive that exercise gives you more energy, I can tell you from my experience that it really does. Before I started a regular exercise routine, I was lethargic most of the day. I sat in my chair way too much. I did not really want to get up and do anything. I wanted to sleep 9 to 10 hours at night. I craved high carbohydrate foods.
After I started exercising regularly, my energy level went up. I was able to keep up with my children. I felt better throughout the day. I started eating more proteins and vegetables and fewer carbohydrates. I was able to get up earlier in the mornings, and I only required 8 hours of sleep at night.
Boost Your Mood
Exercising produces endorphins. These are natural mood boosters. If you suffer from depression, regular exercise can help you balance out those rough patches. Actually, each of the three components—exercise, rest, and healthy foods—can be a mood booster.
You can decide to take care of your health today.