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Early to bed, early to rise, helps parents be fit, healthy and wise

By Arianne Brown

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 30 2013 5:19 p.m. MDT

Taking advice given by one of our Founding Fathers, I encourage parents to go to bed early and wake up early, so they can be fit, healthy and yes, even wise.

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We've all heard the old quote by one of America's Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, that says, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” This is a fantastic saying that I have found absolutely true. However, for the sake of this article, I changed it slightly.

For starters, I am not a man, and although the intent of the original quote may be a generalization, I would like to be a bit more specific in whom I am targeting. Secondly, although I am wealthy in many ways, monetarily speaking ... well, let's just say I don't want to be making any promises in that regard. However, I am a parent to my own 5 (almost 6) kids, and one who does all she can to stay healthy and fit, and that includes doing just as Mr. Franklin suggested, going to bed early and yes, waking up early, too.

To many, this is much easier said than done. As parents, our day consists of three words: go, Go and GO. With rarely any down time, many parents (myself included) look forward to the time when the kids have finally all gone to sleep. We daydream of the quiet time that is accompanied by a nice bowl of cereal (the sugary kind) and our friends on the 10 o'clock news. And although we are tired, that time to sit and do nothing is often more alluring than our own beds. So, we stay up — much longer than we know we should — making it extremely difficult to get up early to exercise.

Well, I am here to say that the bowl of cereal can (and should) wait until morning, what happened on the 10 o'clock news will more than likely be recapped on the morning and afternoon news, and although seemingly inviting as your indent in the couch may be, your bed awaits and is where you should be. Furthermore, having not given in to the lure of the couch, you are now able to awake early and refreshed, with plenty of time to get in your early morning exercise.

Why mornings, some may be asking? Why not afternoons or evenings? Although any time you can find is great and highly encouraged, there are some things about the early morning hours that makes fitting in exercise so much easier and more rewarding in the long-run. Here are some of my reasons why the mornings are the ideal time to exercise:

1. The morning air is cool and crisp, as opposed to hot and muggy. Although this may only be true for the warmer months, we are in that time of the year; thus, its relevance. (I also need to save ideas for future columns.)

2. The house is quiet and you have time to yourself. You may have missed out on the quiet that the evening hours bring, but by waking up early, you have made time for morning hours that are also quiet and you are less bogged-down and more refreshed.

3. You will find you have more energy and brainpower (wisdom). When you wake up refreshed and get your body moving, you will find that your mind will follow suit, making for a more productive and satisfying day for the entire family.

4. You have taken care of yourself first, making it easier to take care of everyone else. Speaking from experience, when I complete my morning exercise before anyone is awake, I am more able to devote my time and energy to others. I always say I want my kids to wake up to a happy mom, and when I take care of myself first, that is just what they get.

So, when seeking time to exercise, look no further than the advice given by one of our Founding Fathers and slightly modified by a more modern mother: Early to bed and early to rise, helps parents be fit, healthy and wise.

Arianne Brown is a graduate from SUU, mother to five young kids and avid runner. For more articles by her, like her Facebook page ( at www.facebook.com/WriterArianneBrown) and she blogs at timetofititin.com.

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