I like to tell people that I have a new exercise routine. It's called "Cleaning My Own House." I live in a community where having a weekly or bi-weekly housecleaner is considered a necessity, even for those who claim to be struggling financially. Many of these same people belong to gyms, which they may or may not use on a regular basis, and they always say are "really not that expensive," which then sound very expensive to me. Furthermore, they often pay for babysitting, either at home, or provided at the gym, while they are working out! Whew! An awful lot of dough shelled out for what is usually a marginally clean house and some exercise.
The way I look at it, exercise is meant to occur naturally. If you have a sedentary job, then chase your kids around when you get home, or go on a jog with them riding their bikes after dinner, or make yourself go to the community pool on those long summer evenings and really play and splash around and do some laps. Go on a long walk to the ice cream place. If you are a stay-at-home parent, take the kids to the playground for a long stint every day and wear your sneakers. Play games, go on long hikes, teach them tennis, be active with them and you will have exercised. Also, you can clean your own house!
Now I must come clean here (ha ha), there was a time when I had a housecleaner. But I frankly found it to be more of a bother than a help. Things were not done the way I like them to be done, the house smelled all at once of heavy cleaners, and then there was the money involved. Once I started doing it myself, I got into a routine that just doesn't seem too burdensome. And I have to say, when I have scrubbed the shower, tub and bathroom floors, vacuumed and changed sheets, I have worked out, to be sure!
I remember hearing a story once about someone observing a lobby full of people waiting around for the elevator to take them up to the gym on a higher floor, where they could pay their hard-earned money to use the stair machines. The irony of this scene was seemingly lost on those poor souls waiting for the elevators, but not on me. There are hundreds of ways that you can exercise and be active every day, often in the company of your kids (obviously the activity is good for them too), and often while killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. A clean house and exercise, and it was all for free! What could be better?
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com
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