Day 26: The Swim Cap – 5 ways to sneak in exercise and still have a life

Ruthie The Swim Cap 16 Comments

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day 26 swim capBack in the dark ages of the ’80’s, my mom purchased a rope exerciser.

We hooked it on the door knob and laid down, face up.  Then, inserting hands and feet in the loops, pulled up and down.  Arms and legs swished back and forth in opposite directions like a swimmer without water.

(Thankfully, there are no polariods documenting the use of said contraption.)

The purpose was to work the core and abs (that was before we even knew we had those).

I believe the running terms were, “physical fitness” and “stomach“.

(Picture the headband and leotard garb of the Olivia-Newton John and Richard Simmons “Lets Get Physical” and “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” generation.)

These days, we say, “work-out“,  and “six-pack” .

It always brings a chuckle when I recall mom and I using the ab pulley on the floor in the bathroom.

(It was the only room in the house that had enough space for us to lie down and wildly flap our arms and legs.)

I’ve been working to maintain an exercise routine ever since.


According to the Center for Disease and Prevention,

Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.


Do you have an exercise routine?  Do you want one, but your schedule is too demanding?  Would you like to implement a workout, but you don’t know where to begin?


1.  Determine a schedule


Mamas of little ones,

I feel your pain.  You have to get creative in order to exercise.

You have several options:

-stroller walk

-exercise videos

-biking with a bike trailer (insert baby and pedal)

-membership at the local YMCA (babysitting included)

-hubs watches the kiddos while you run/bike/walk around the block in the evenings


When my kids were small, I used exercise videos because I could do them in 30 minutes while the kids played or took naps.

Does anyone remember Denise Austin?  She was my work out guru.

My 3 year old observed me sometimes.

She called her “Denise Exhaustion”.

I must have been breathing pretty heavily.


Once they get older

You have a little more freedom.

You need to decide if you’re going to get up early, catch some afternoon time, or implement it in the evening.

Try to find an ideal time that works with your schedule and shoot for 3 times a week at first.

If you can only do 1-2 – hey, it’s more than you did before, right?

Be forgiving of yourself and keep trying.

Don’t give up just because it’s not perfect!


2.  Ideas for exercise

My exercise routine has run the gamut from the Denise Exhaustion videos to personal trainer certification (with gym employment), with a little walking and running in between.

I even tried the dreaded Cross-fit for a while.


The key to a successful exercise program is to choose something you enjoy. Click To Tweet


If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it.

Some people are just wild about cross-fit.  Personally, I hated it.

I tried to love it.  For two years I really wanted to love it.

But it wasn’t for me.

I was a cross-fit drop out.

If you don’t like it, you won’t do it.

Luckily, there are other options:

-Exercise videos


-Speed walking

-Jogging, running

-jumping rope

-free weights





3.  Set Goals


In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds.  I should be hanging from a charm bracelet. ~Erma Bombeck



Walk, run, or bike outside 3-5 times per week.  Playing outside with your kids counts, too!

2)Weight loss

Get moving, increase your heart rate, and challenge yourself 5-6 times per week. Of course, exercise goes hand in hand with eating properly.

3)Getting fit 

Combine aerobic activity and weight training.  5 times a week –  more if you feel like it.

Here are some suggestions for getting fit without a gym membership.


4.  Strength training vs Aerobic activity

Ideally, a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise is best.

Research shows that if you pump a little iron or exercise using your own body weight (sit-ups, push-ups, planks), your muscles burn fat up to 48 hours afterwards.

(This is why some perform strength training every other day in order to give muscles time to recover and still benefit from the after-burn.)

Engaging in aerobic activity (speed walking, running, jumping rope, cycling, etc.) burns calories.


Instantly burned calories + subsequent calories = better results in the long run. Click To Tweet


This is the best choice, but if I have to choose between the two, I always go with aerobic.


1.I can feel the effects (endorphins) immediately

2.My body type (short, stocky) responds more quickly (weight loss)

3.Every aerobic activity includes even a small form of weight bearing  (walking supports your body, cycling strengthens legs, so does running).


One way to get both in is to alternate days.  Do aerobic activity M/W/F and strength training T/R.


5.  Be consistent

This is the key to success in anything, including exercise.

If your goals are weight loss or getting fit, you will see results within 4 weeks with consistency.  Even if some days all you can do is 5-10 minutes.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it, but you know you should.

You know the Nike mantra:  Just do it!  You’ll be glad later!




I’ve exercised with women so thin that buzzards followed them to their cars. ~Erma Bombeck


Exercise improves your mood

Results have proven that exercise increases endorphins.

I can attest to that myself.

When I’m having an especially stressful day, if I take just 30 minutes to run, or do some form of aerobic activity to get my heart rate up, it changes my whole perspective and clears my thought processes!


Exercise improves your health

It lowers blood pressure, decreases risk of heart disease and cancer, strengthens bones and slows the loss of bone density, and aids in weight loss and maintenance.

Pretty great, huh?


5kI have a few young mama friends who keep a regular exercise routine.

Aimee (3 kids, ages 4-10) rides bikes and does cross fit 5 times per week (bless her heart, she hung with me in my cross-fit venture).

Andrea (3 kids, ages 3-10) runs and also does cross fit 5 times per week (we’ve run a few 5Ks together and she almost killed me once on a 10K)

Taryn (my oldest child, mama of Tiny Tornado, who is now 2) uses exercise videos after work each day.  (She lost all her baby weight through the 21 day fix program).


No matter your age, you can benefit greatly from a little exercise.  During my 40’s, I went to the gym 6 times a week and lost 25 pounds.  But transitions occurred to make that routine not longer feasible.

I struggled to maintain balance, and in the midst of it I realized I could perform 25-30 minutes a day in my home and still obtain similar results if I carefully watched my diet.

Moderation is the key.

Challenge yourself to get moving and healthy for your kids.  Set goals and a schedule, decide on your method and mode of exercise, and be consistent.

Swim caps are tight and unflattering (my kid actually offered to pull my eyebrows down once) but a little discomfort is worth the lasting health benefits.

Try one on and see!


Day 27: The Mechanic Cap



Comments 16

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  1. Consistency is definitely what I lack and what I am working on at the moment. I actually quite like the Wii fit plus at home with my daughter as she loves watching it and “plays” some of the games herself withe helping her. Gets me moving and play time with her.

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  2. I agree this is an important cap or “hat” that I need to don more. I had a great workout routine going until a few weeks ago when my back started hurting and the doctor told me my sciatica flaring caused my pain. I need prayer now that somehow I can get back on track. Thanks for sharing.

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      Mary, I will pray about your sciatica with you. I know how that feels, I’ve struggled with that too. Have you checked your shoes? Sometimes with certain type heels (even up to an inch) it would flare. Maybe you could even do a different type of exercise for now, such as walking or yoga!

  3. I used to exercise with a friend; I really miss it and her. Your blog makes me feel guilty so maybe I’ll get off the couch and start again.

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      Hahaha – good times, kid. Those were good times, eh? I need someone to kick my butt too. During the 31 day writing I’ve not done it once, but that’s why I wrote this – so that once I’m done with the month I’ll have a game plan! 🙂

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  4. Love the funny Erma quotes! I have teens at home and am working full time. It has been really hard trying to find a time that works. If I walk/exercise right after work, we don’t eat dinner until 8:00. I like your idea of 25-30 minutes a day at home. I always feel like I have to walk for an hour. Great post!

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      Thanks, Robyn! I know, it’s so hard with a schedule like that. But taking it in smaller chunks really helps! I haven’t exercised in a month – wonder why?! Yeah, I gotta get this saggy butt back on the treadmill ASAP!!!

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