About Katie Garner

Katie Garner is a middle school teacher in Huntington Beach, California. She teaches English Language Arts and Social Studies for 6th and 7th grade.

Teaching requires an exorbitant amount of energy. Each day we face classroom management, grading, lesson planning, parent communication, and faculty meetings, so it’s hard to imagine squeezing anything else into our jam-packed schedule. Not to mention, going home and relaxing for thirty minutes sounds a lot more appealing that heading into a sweaty gym full of glistening, energized people who have not spent their day telling Timmy to take the scissors out of his nose.

It is understandable that many teachers don’t make time for fitness. And it is understandable that the thought of incorporating a daily workout routine sounds too exhausting to even attempt. Unfortunately, this means we are putting our physical and mental health on the backburner to focus on the day-to-day challenges of our career.

What if I told you that you don’t necessarily have to “make time” for exercise? Rather than carving out precious time in your day, here are two ways to stay active that have little to no impact on your daily rituals.

Start off your day with some push-ups

If you start off every day with 10-15 push-ups, you are already getting your blood flowing while incorporating a bit of resistance training. Push-ups engage not only your arms, but all the muscles in your core. No gym needed. If you can do this two or three times a day, you will be incorporating a very manageable and positive element to your daily routine.

Take a post-dinner walk

One of the worst things you can do for your body after dinner is sit down. Taking a short walk can help aid digestion, which will reduce bloating. When the body has the ability to digest foods correctly, more nutrients are received through the intestines and liver, which prevents vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

If you want have the time to incorporate a more rigorous fitness routine, but lack the motivation, there are some ways you can give yourself the push you need to stick with it.

Sign up for a fitness challenge

Two years ago, I was bored with my fitness routine when my friend recommended we challenge ourselves with a half marathon. I have always been a runner, but never a long-distance runner. My friend could not, at the time, run a mile without stopping to catch her breath. We made this decision six weeks before the 13.1 mile race. Having the deadline in mind, we stuck to a very regular running schedule and crossed that finish line together.

I am not condoning signing up for a fitness challenge that you are unprepared for, but the pressure of wanting that half marathon medal encouraged both of us to make running part of our day at least five times a week.

Find a buddy

Having my friend to train with made all the difference in the world. We supported each other and kept each other accountable. On those days when I wanted to go home and take a nap, she reminded me why it was important for me to lace up my shoes and squeeze in a couple of miles. Now, I am training for a Tough Mudder with a friend who lives in a different state. Even though we cannot physically work together, we share workout programs and provide constant motivation for one another.

Ultimately, fitness is a choice. If you want to be healthy and stay healthy, you have to make it a priority. There is no one workout that will solve all of your problems, and there is nothing that I or anyone else can say to make you want to stay active. As the inspirational poster in my classroom states: “We always have time for the things we put first.”

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