Too Stressed to Work Out?

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I want to exercise but I have too many responsibilities.

James Rippe, MD
A lot of people come to me and they've said well, I'd like to do more in terms of exercise, but I feel selfish. If I go out and I exercise I would feel selfish because in a sense I would be taking away time from my children or my other responsibilities, my spouse. And I always say to them, the first thing you should do is talk to your family about this because these are the people who love you the most. And almost without exception when, particularly women, have gone back to their family and discussed this issue, they have found that their spouse and children say Mom, if that will help you be healthier and get more out of life we totally support it. And so, the selfish side of this I think is a self inflicted wound. I think if you really talk to those people around you and say, I want to do this, I think it's important to me, I think you'll find that they are very supportive. There's another little tip and that is look for those things that the family can do together. Find ways that you can go out and walk together. Our family for example, my wife Stephanie and I have four young daughters. And my four daughters and Stephanie are known within the family as the swimming women because they all swim together. And they have now pulled me back into more swimming than I used to swim a lot more and now I swim...And so we found things that we can do together as a family. There's an added benefit. The National Children's Youth Fitness survey showed that if you want your children to be active, the highest predictor is whether or not the parents are active. So we can blame it on the school or we can blame it on the CIA or we can blame inactivity on a variety of sources, but most parents need to look inside themselves and ask, am I doing enough in my own life to be active if I want my children to get all of the health benefits of being active.