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Monday Mom challenge: Try a new exercise in the new year

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Not the same old fitness

Whether you are a fitness fanatic or as inert as the day is long, the new year brings new opportunity for a more fit you. Exercise, fitness or “healthy choices” are a part of one of the most common resolutions for the new year. As such, you are likely finding yourself with the need to answer a question: How will I meet this goal?

woman exercising

Maybe you exercise regularly but your routine bores you. Or you've tried but not quite succeeded in years past. Maybe it's time to look beyond standard exercise categories for something that will really strike your fancy -- and help you stick with your fitness goals. It's hard enough as a mom to fit in fitness to our crazy-busy days, so doing exercise you don't truly enjoy is either out of the question or special torture.

Out with the old

The elliptical had a promising start -- but that was it. The running program was great -- until that hurricane. Yoga was a little too relaxing -- you snored! If it didn't quite work for you before, don't go back to it. Some of us were not cut out for weight training, biking or other "standard" exercise fare.

Whether it was too expensive in terms of equipment, too hard on your joints, required more coordination than you could, well, coordinate, or was just plain boring doesn't matter. It didn't work for you. No need to feel guilty about it or try to force your round self into that square hole! Find something new.

Patience

It may take you some time to find that right exercise. You shouldn't feel guilty about that either! New year's resolutions are not completed (and hence not broken) in January! You may need to try several different exercises over the course of the (whole) year before you find the one that's right for you. Keep at it -- don't give up in February!

Fresh exercise, fresh perspective

The inspiration for the exercise that keeps you going and keeps you interested could come from unlikely sources. Was your daughter invited to a birthday party at an indoor climbing gym? Was your son asked to go ice skating with a friend? What are those single pieces of equipment on the perimeter of the gym? Could any of these be the activities that really get you going, really get that heart rate up?

Find a buddy or other support

If at all possible, find a mom buddy to join you in your quest for a new fun exercise. You two could create a divide and conquer approach, each trying something and reporting back to the other -- or try that Zumba class together.

If you can't find a buddy, look for exercise with a support system. Online forums for users of indoor rowing machines or for trail runners in your area are a great way to gather encouragement and participate in group efforts if your neighbors are unavailable.

No matter what your new year's fitness resolution, make it happen this year. Keep the big picture in mind and chip away at it month by month. By new New Year's Eve, you're sure to have accomplished at least part of your goal -- and maybe you'll even be the next roller derby star!

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