Living a healthy life is hard enough when your spouse is consistently at home, let alone when your significant other is often absent. Responsibilities and stress can pile up fast, making it harder to find the time and motivation to exercise.
A military life doesn’t need to equate to an unhealthy one, though. Set yourself up for success by eliminating hurdles and incorporating motivators to exercise. Read these seven tips to help you stay fit during your spouse’s deployments and absences.
1. Have a Goal
You’re more likely to stick with your exercise program if you have a goal that you are truly committed to. Looking amazing is a common goal, but goals related to feeling good or accomplishing a task make it more likely that you’ll stick to your guns. Work towards feeling more energetic, running a 5 k, deadlifting your body weight or being a good role model for your family.
2. Schedule Regular Exercise Time
Choose a time of day that allows plenty of time to exercise, as well as time to shower and dress. Try to ensure that your time is as distraction free as possible. If you have children than you may prefer to exercise during the school day or nap time. Not possible? Swap babysitting hours with a neighbor or friend, join a gym with child care, occupy your child with a favorite activity or invest in a good jogging stroller.
3. Shoot for the Moon
I’m sure you’ve heard that saying “shoot for the moon because if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” Personal trainers usually advise manageable and attainable goals, but living sans-spouse means it’s inevitable that you’ll miss some exercise sessions. Your kids could get sick or your car might need to go into the shop and, voila, you haven’t exercised in 3 days. Aim to exercise a few days more than you originally intended – if you fall short than you’ll still be accomplishing regular exercise. If you succeed, then you’ll enjoy the sense of accomplishment.
4. Get a Head Start
Don’t wait until your spouse leaves to implement your fitness plan – start several weeks or months before his departure. This will increase your odds of staying committed to your goals and maintaining the rhythm of your routine.
5. Choose the Right Location
You can exercise just about anywhere, but it needs to be convenient. Most bases have multiple fitness centers available for use by active duty marines and their families. Commercial fitness centers in town may better meet your needs if they have complimentary childcare. A home gym is an attractive option for many, particularly very busy people and parents. Equipment like rings, TRX, kettlebells and bands can turn a garage into a full service gym with little to moderate cost. Whatever the location, make sure it’s easily accessible.
6. Get a Partner
Working out with a friend is fun. Plus, you’ll be accountable to your friend to show up and work hard! Prevent conflict by choosing a friend you feel comfortable with, who has a a similar schedule and childcare situation
7. Love Your Workout Wardrobe
Sometimes a new pair of yoga pants and a cute top can make you excited to work out. Your exercise clothes don’t need to be expensive – they just need to make you feel good. Target, Walmart, Costco and the base Exchange all offer fitness gear. Still too much deniro? You might score a great deal at a local thrift store or on a resale web site.
8. Use Your Community Resources
The Marine Corps community is brimming with fitness resources outside of Semper Fit. For example, many of your fellow spouses were personal trainers, yoga instructors or group fitness instructors before they married their sweeties. Ask around and get to know your neighborhood instructors. Some might offer one-on-one or group services at a very discounted rate. One spouse started the Stroller Warriors, a free running group that seeks to support and empower military spouses through running. The club provides the work outs – all you have to do is show up and try your best.