Incidental Exercise

Last week my husband and I took a six day/five night trip to Kentucky – without the kids. One could be forgiven for thinking we took it easy, rested, and relaxed. Instead, we hiked about 23 miles over three days, in hot and humid weather.

We drank lots of water.

Despite all the sweat and effort, I was pleased to find that I had the stamina for the hiking – especially the 10 mile walk we did the first day up to a ridge trail in the Appalachians. It was a lot of up and down, but even as we got to the end, I felt tired but good.

This wouldn’t have been the case if I hadn’t seriously upped the amount of incidental exercise I get each week over the course of the past nine months. I’m walking or cycling the kids around town three, sometimes four, times a week. A lot of times it doesn’t feel like exercise (my four year old walks very slowly still), but it still counted, and it counted for quite a bit last week.

When I write and talk about Charlotte Mason’s ideas applied to moms, I know that it’s tricky for most of us to actually find both the time to read and the headspace to think. One approach to this problem is to think about the ‘incidental mental exercise’ we get each day. Those books we’re reading to our children, those conversations we have with our spouse, that sermon we hear on Sunday, it all counts. And when we think, ponder, and make connections with that, we end up with more stamina and fitness when we are ready to pull out that stiff book that’s been sitting on our shelves asking to be read.

Shameless plug: I talk about this in the first episode of my new, private podcast for my newsletter subscribers. The podcast is running for the summer and is primarily a read along of Charlotte Mason’s third volume School Education, but the introductory episode is about how to make time for reading. I’d love for you to join in – you can subscribe below.

A letter from me to you, every week.

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