How to Keep Fit--- the Easy Way
Out for a walk...
I just came back from an hour of walk with my pre-schooler--- she on her trike and me on foot, sweating under a sweater and a leather jacket. The day is gray with tiny drizzles of rain. (Or mist? I'm not so sure.) So I thought a leather jacket will be warm enough, but it got too warm as I walked.

Walking is one of my easy (and enjoyable) way to keep fit, which I do twice in a week. I do other things, which I'm going to share with you in a moment. But why keep fit?

When I was younger, I kept fit to stay in shape, but I have more reasons than that now that I'm older. There are the body pains that usually go away after a few minutes of stretching and a cloudy mind that gets its dusting with every move and stride I make.

Keeping fit is essential to our bodies especially to those who are not getting any younger any more. And we don't get it by simply reading about some people who look fit and young because of their strict exercise regimen. But for many of us, it is a struggle to just simply get up and get moving, much more to do it daily.

I understand this struggle. With four kids to care and look after, a household to keep, work and interests and dreams to reach, I sometimes neglect this much-needed routine just to  have time for other things. Which I'm guilty to say I am more enthusiastic about. But having a fit body and a sound mind is important in every aspect of life as a parent, as a spouse, and in our relationship with God.

Listing down things I do, keeps them in mind more readily. Here's what I do in a week to keep fit.

1. Do the walk.

The ideal way for me to get the most out of a walk is going by myself. However, it always doesn't happen that way. So, I walk with kids. Sometimes, a kid or two. I invite the Honey to walk with me. And I do a prayer-walk around my neighborhood area or somewhere different from my usual beaten path.

I love to walk where I haven't walked before. That's why my husband is often astonished to learn that I have been in some places in our city where he hasn't brought me before. As I've mentioned, I go walking at least twice a week.

2. Dance to the Music!

On other days that I cannot go walking, I dance for 30 minutes to Zumba videos at least three times a week. The following videos in Youtube is enough to pump up some energy for me for the day, as well as, get my rusty joints stretched before I have my breakfast. Try this 15-minute Zumba video,  4-minute body toning video and a stretching video. I love that the first video is in French, and so easy and fun!

I also get my kids moving, especially when they are caught indoors because of nasty weather, by getting them do some kids zumba. And to get them enthusiastic, I move along with them to music such as "Gummy Bear" or "Hickory-Dickory-Dock", which my little pre-schooler loves. (She's a great dancer!)

3. Get soil-dirty hands.

Digging in the garden for even just thirty minutes burns 200 to 400 calories! And that includes pulling weeds and planting.  Planting vegetables have an added bonus of putting food on the table--- the healthy ones.

I have to pull weeds or our yard will resemble a beautiful Russian forest, complete with a big, brown bear. I try to get the kids in on the activity but the most they can give is five minutes, except for an empathetic Angelika, who cannot bear the thought of her mom with so much to do and no one to help her. Anyhow, working in the yard is a good bonding moment and families should do it often, working together.

4. Playtime! 

I'm not talking about video or computer games. Playtime should be with traditional games or sports. Perhaps we, adults, should be reminded how to have fun again with something as simple as playing tag or playing with a ball. There's nothing more rewarding than playing with the kids and nothing more fun while burning calories.

When I'm out of ideas, I just race the kids to the next lamp post or play a simple game of football or basketball using unlikely objects as a goal or a basket. As they are growing older, I introduce little-by-little traditional Filipino games--- the ones I played when I was a snooty-nosed urchin. There is "Seven-seven-up", "Patintero", "Luksong tinik", "Tumba Lata", "Piko". Aside from "Seven-seven-up" which we have mastered by far, we are still in the process of getting them down pat.

During winter, I roll around in the snow with them or have a snowball fight. Accordingly, minding kids and playing with them burns 300 to 600 calories.

5. Have fun with house chores. 

Ah, chores. Who likes them? Not me. But I've adopted the kids' attitude of fun, so I can get them done. And scrubbing or even just vacuuming has made me sweat so I guess I'm doing some sort of workout even if just a little bit. Even a moderate housecleaning gets a hundred to two hundred calories. In wintertime, shoveling some snow always guarantees a good workout even for just twenty minutes. In fact, ten minutes of shoveling snow will get you so warmed up you won't want to go back to the drab and boring indoors.

Not only are these activities good for keeping you fit without much thought... and maybe, effort, but they are also therapeutic. Walking always gets me back into a happy, calm mood. Dancing makes me laugh and do silly things without getting embarrassed. Digging in the dirt makes me feel human, knowing that I come from the ground. Playing keeps that youthful spirit in me. And doing chores? It keeps the house clean and having a clean house is bliss!

Whatever we do, let's do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23) For if we do, we will benefit greatly out of it. God's blessings are poured to those who willingly obey Him and it is His desire that we will be fit and in good health. Finally...

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things 
and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 
(3 John 2)

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