As women we often hear that it’s at least as important to take care good care of ourselves as it is our families. “Get more exercise,” “eat healthier,” “get plenty of sleep,” and “drink water” are refrains that we hear again and again – so much so that, over time, they can become like white noise in the background, lulling us to inactivity. Often, we have every intention living healthier. But sometimes, even well-intentioned, organized and informed people fall short. We need more than admonitions; we need tips we can use every day to make it happen.

Recently, we asked our providers how they make it happen. Here is what a few of them told us on how they approach exercise.

Adjust Your Attitude. “As a busy working momma, I think of my morning exercise routine as “filling my own bucket” for the day ahead. To me, it’s a daily dose of self-care that nurtures my own physical and emotional well-being. By doing this, I have more energy to give to my family and patients.” Gina Allison, MD, Tualatin

Schedule It. “It’s important to set realistic goals for the amount of exercise you can fit into your week. But even more important is actually fitting it in. After you’ve set your goal, sit down and look at your schedule for the week and find places where you can enter “gym” or “walk” on your calendar (even just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise can be beneficial to your health). Penciling in your exercise like an appointment increases your commitment to doing it and makes you less likely to schedule something else during that time.” Jody Lindwall, CNM, Peterkort South

Anything Counts. “Almost any activity counts as exercise as long as it involves movement of large muscle groups in the body – it doesn’t have to feel like drudgery to have a positive impact! Choose a variety of activities to keep your workouts interesting. They should be appropriate to your physical abilities and the season of the year. Check out this list of more than 100 exercise ideas from The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Look for ones you can do with your kids. Try something new each week!” Darlene Dodson, MD, Oregon City and Canby

Remember, the minimum amount of exercise you need for better health is just 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity five days a week (2½ hours total per week). According to the CDC, this means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. (You should be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song.) When you’re ready to up the ante, try:

  • Increasing your total weekly minutes of aerobic activity, and/or increasing the intensity of some of it.
  • Adding strength training, two days per week.

Of course, different approaches to exercise work for us at different points in our lives. What tips do you have for making it happen? Share them on our Facebook page