The Penny Lesson

My mom taught me a valuable lesson when I was a little girl. If you knew anything about my mom she was constantly teaching my siblings and I little lessons. There was one lesson in particular that I still hold close to my heart: the Penny Lesson. You see when I was little I used to see my mother pick up pennies from the ground whenever she saw them, and take them home to save. I was quite embarrassed every time she did this, because I couldn’t understand why she would do such a useless thing. I mean it wasn’t even a quarter. A penny couldn’t even get you candy from the store. In my world it had lost its value. One day, I just could not take it anymore so I said, “Mom, why do you keep picking up pennies?” She replied, “a penny saved, is a penny more than you had yesterday.” As a child I didn’t fully understand what my mother meant, but as I got older I began to see the full depth of what she was saying. Every penny that my mother picked up had added up to dollars saved for a special treat for us kids. It made sense then. No matter how small something seems it can make all the difference.

Now I translate that lesson into many parts of my life. One of them is exercise and daily movement. As a new mom that’s still breastfeeding, it is a lot harder to find ways to go to the gym and do a scheduled workout. So instead, I’ve learned to add more movement into my daily routine. One of the ways I try to add more movement into my life is by doing things we have all heard of. Like parking my car at the furthest end of the lot whenever I run errands, taking the stairs at work, or walking to the next store I’m going to. Another way I like to add activity to my day is by doing some push-ups or squats when I need a mini break from working on my laptop. Also, I try using an exercise ball as a chair because the small movements of the ball causes you to adjust your posture. It all adds up!

If you are a mom like me, adding your little one into your workout is really easy to do too. Often babies and little kids are just full of energy and they want to play a lot. So while playing with your little one, use them as weights. Playing Superman or raising your kid high in the air is good for your legs and arms. Doing it maybe 10 times is a great way to work your muscles. You can even mimic the movements of your young child, because they have great core stability. I mean can you lay on your back all day and play with your feet? Maybe your child is older, playing tag or chasing your child around is good too. Trust me, all that activity will definitely add up. Now if you need to spice it up a bit try adding a dance break or even turning simple things into dances. Move those hips, kick out those legs, shake those arms, or stir the pot. Even if it is for 5 minutes, it will make a difference.

The Penny lesson teaches us that even small changes can make long term transformations in our health. You know every time my mom saw a penny she picked it up. She did not miss one opportunity. It had become a healthy habit of saving. I know that it never seems like there is enough time in day, but we can make what we already do into daily investments in our health. Start off small and you will find yourself accumulating many healthy habits.

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