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5 Health tips for when fitness isn't your priority

Tricia is a mom, writer & blogger, currently writing her first book. Her words have appeared on the Huffington Post, Literary Mama, & Pregnancy & Newborn.  Raising Humans.

You're always running. Unfortunately, it's not the sneakers-on-pavement kind of running. It's the chasing-after-kids and running-because-late kind of running.

You've prioritized kids' schedules or meetings at work or being there for a friend for months. And you've found you no longer have time for a simple workout or yoga class. Sound familiar?

So how do you get healthy or stay healthy when all of that running has you skipping meals, waking early and retiring late and barely finding a moment to take a deep breath?

You try to incorporate one or more of these on-the-go health tips into your daily marathon.

1. Walk, don't run

It may seem counter-intuitive but when life has you running, make some time to slow down. Take a walk with your kids or plan an evening to walk with friends. Head out for 10 minutes after work or just after your kids' bedtime to walk around your neighborhood. The physical exercise is, of course, good for you; according to the Mayo Clinic, taking a brisk walk every day can help prevent conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and help you maintain a healthy weight. But, just as important, the slowing down that walking encourages will help your mind and soul find some peace and help you take the deep breaths your body needs to ward off stress and illness.

2. Yoga on the go

Yoga doesn't have to be out of reach anymore, reserved only for those who can get out to a class with their mat slung over their shoulders. If you've wanted to make yoga a part of your life but haven't found the time to get to the studio, the answer could be as close as the phone you're holding in your hands. There are so many great yoga apps these days and some are even free. Whenever you have a few free minutes, maybe in those weird slots of time in your day between when you get home and when the kids hop off the bus or while you're waiting for your spouse to be done with the shower, you can open the app and get in a few poses. Yoga-on-the-go can happen whenever and wherever and when you make it a regular practice, you'll feel the benefits.

3. Meditate in real life

Not eyes-closed, uncomfortable-on-the-floor meditation. Real-life meditation. As we learn more and more about benefits of mindfulness, we're discovering that meditation isn't something that only happens when you're alone in a big room. Deep breaths while you're driving, cooking dinner or waiting in line, focusing on the taste of your food as you eat, or truly listening to your child unfold their day for you are all forms of meditation. The more you practice daily meditation, in your real life, the more you'll be able to focus and strengthen your mind and heart.

4. Stretch while you watch

Keeping your muscles in shape is important and stretching regularly can help keep you limber. Most of us only stretch in preparation for other exercise but stretching, when done well, can be an exercise all on its own. Just like meditation, stretching doesn't have to happen in a certain place or in a certain way. Stretch when sitting on the floor with your kids or while watching TV. Stretch while you're waiting in line for coffee or sitting on the bus on the way to work. If nothing else, keeping your muscles in shape will help your body adjust once you're able to get back to the gym.

5. Be kind to yourself

Maybe this won't be the phase of life you look back on and think, "Wow, I was really fit then." Maybe, instead, it will be the year you look back on and think, "Wow, I was really there for my family that year." Or "Wow, I really moved my career forward that year." You can't be all things to all people and you can't be all things all the time. Incorporate some of these tips and do what you can to stay healthy but don't stress over the exercise you're not doing, that will just make things worse! Be kind to yourself and do your best.

Photo credit: Nora Kuby/Flickr
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