Let’s See… A Run, or a Re-Run? I’ll Take the Run.
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Before I had my son, I was intensely devoted to exercise, waking before the birds to get in a run or spin class before work. While my husband slept, that hour before dawn provided me with silent time to think, make mental lists, and enjoy the fresh outdoors. I loved the physical and mental energy it gave me and felt sluggish and grumpy when I missed a day.
Under my midwife’s guidance, I continued to exercise during my pregnancy (until I was put to bed), and couldn’t wait to get back into it after baby. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be. I felt so lame when I could hardly run a mile, but I kept at it, and it eventually got easier.
The physical hurdle was just half the battle. Setting aside a time for exercise was not as easy as it used to be. I was tired all the time.
Getting up to run in the morning meant going to bed early,and skipping out on Scrubs re-runs with my husband. But he was getting up early, too, because while I was out having my time our baby was up, too. Needing to be fed, changed, and entertained. The Hubs knew how important it was to me and volunteered to take over while I was gone, but I would occasionally detect a hint of resentment. Whether this perception was a reality or just my PP emotions taking over, I began to feel guilt for the time I was spending on myself.
This is where therapy came in handy. I had to learn to talk openly about my needs and to manage those unhelpful feelings and emotions. As it turns out, we both prefer the Me who has burned off some steam and a few calories to the Me who is grumpy because she feels fat and hasn’t had her morning poop.
My son is three years old, now, and I am still hitting the pavement and practicing yoga a couple of times a week for balance. I often hear from other moms who say they want to exercise but don’t have the time or motivation. Each family has its needs, so what works for me may not work for you. Here are some things you can try:
- Wake Up Before the Birds– This was easy for me because it was what I had been doing all along, but it’s a great way to fit it in, especially if one or both parents are back at work. Make an arrangement with your spouse, setting aside certain days that he/she will agree to take over the parenting duties during that time block. What? You’re not a morning person? You’ll get over it. Research in the area of exercise physiology shows that during exercise after a fast (first thing in the morning), your blood sugar levels remain stable, as opposed to exercising after you have eaten and started the metabolic process.
- Milk the Nap– While your child is sleeping, you can get in a good abs session or do your favorite pilates video. When my baby was old enough, I used to take him out in the jogger and let him have his morning nap while I ran.
- Take Turns– Split the days of the week between the two of you. Knowing that your husband is working out may give you more incentive to do the same. Plus, it’s just as important for him as it is for you.
- Be a Weekend Warrior– Weekdays can be hard when one or both of you are working, but Saturdays and Sundays may be a good time. At our house, my husband takes the early shift on Saturday and heads out to ride as soon as we get up. I take the mid-day shift and go to my yoga class.
- Become a Gym Rat– Although it may not work for everyone, having monthly dues and a schedule of challenging classes to choose from may help you get back into an exercise routine. Many gyms also offer childcare services.
- Branch Out– Maybe you never were much of a runner, or maybe you have always wanted to train for a triathalon. Perhaps, like me, you were a yoga-hater but could be converted. Doing the same workout year after year gets boring, and your body will grow so used to it that you will no longer see physical improvements- it’s just maintenance. You need to add something new to mix it up and give yourself a physical challenge.
- Make It a Family Affair– If your kids are small, put them in the backpack carrier and go for a family walk or hike. If they are a bit older, try a family bike ride. Walk the dog!
- Splurge a Little– A new heart rate monitor or running shoes always make me feel frisky and eager to get moving.
- Pay a Personal Trainer– If you have the time and money, go for it. Knowing someone is waiting for you at 6am will definitely get you up and out of the house.
- Use the Last Resort– Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. Your spouse had a early meeting at work. You were up several times last night and needed to sleep in a bit. Get a sitter. I frequently used what little sitter time I had for exercise. It’s your time- use it to your best benefit.
Some last words of encouragement: The owner of the studio where I practice yoga, who is also a mom and friend, says, “We don’t all have an hour and a half. But we can usually find twenty minutes.”
Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.