In my 34 years on this earth I will admit my relationship with exercise has seen highs & lows. I’ve made movement a priority or I’ve forsaken all sweating for months at a time to pursue other things. I’ve poured myself into a gym & I’ve also walked into my basement to see my kettle bell collecting dust. Some days, some weeks, even some months are better than others but the one constant that my body can’t forget is that motherhood is a full on workout. When I was younger my motivation was a bit different than it is now. I will admit to you that my main purpose for hitting the gym used to be a season. More specifically, the season of fewest layers: summer. I knew summer would hit & I’d had to wear a swim suit. I didn’t dread this season, necessarily, but I was very aware of it’s arrival.
As I’ve gotten older & had more kids I’ve approached activity with a new awareness. It’s not that I don’t care about swimsuit season anymore. I do. It just doesn’t top my list of reasons I need to keep active. I’ve also realized something else – we all get older. Every year our bodies continue to adjust to the daily onslaught of life & I’ve realized that activity is my best defense in that fight. I’m not afraid of getting older. Actually, just the opposite. But I do plan on being as active as possible so I can do the things I want to do, as long as I want to do them. My physical features are now trumped by the ever present thought: I’m active so I can be in top shape for my family.
Why Exercise Matters to Me
Being able to move is important to me but being able to move well is key. I need to be able to move my hips & my shoulders specifically. I’m squatting, picking up kids, picking up toys, picking up dirty socks off the floor! I also need to be able to reach behind me. Should a kid need a sip cup, a tissue or anything else in the car. I need to have full range of my arms so I can get the kids what they need without hurting myself.
It’s My Release
Life can be stressful with 4 kids. Life can be really stressful while trying to run a blog with 2 kids at home. I get my early am workout done & it’s an amazing stress release. I don’t have to hang on to my frustrations because I get to work them out at the track or the weight rack before the sun is even up. I get to bend & let go at yoga. I do these activities so I can release & let go in life.
I Can Lift & Carry Everything
As mothers, how much crap do we have to carry? Seriously? I carry my 3 year old who has to be approaching 40 pounds. I have to carry my toddler who hangs like a sack of potatoes. I count my lucky stars every day I’m not still carrying an infant in a car seat! I’m usually always carrying my bag, one or two of the kid’s backpacks & up to 2 other items I may need for where ever I’m going. I need to be able to carry all these things without getting hurt. I’m not so much preoccupied with how much I can press over my shoulders just as long as it’s close to the body weight of my youngest kid.
I Can Keep up with My 8 Year Old (For Now)
I have a pretty active son. He’s a runner & I love that we can go out & run together. He thinks it’s super fun & loves counting & keeping track of the miles he’s logged. It’s a fun thing to do together but it’s also important to me that I can still keep up with him in a sprint. I am not a fast runner, nor will I ever be. But I can still beat the pants off that kid for now.
I Don’t Wake up with Aches & Pains
Sometimes. I do occasionally wake up with muscle soreness that comes from working out but I don’t wake up with those annoying – why am I in pain, I just slept all night – kind of aches. I don’t like feeling aches & pains from simply being alive & doing the things I need to do every day. That’s annoying. I’d rather keep myself active with even moving a small amount each day. Exercise doesn’t have to look like a full contact sport. It can be as simple as walking & stretching.
I Show my Kids the Benefit of Activity
I don’t need to encourage my kids to be more active. Kids are active. It’s when they get bogged down with things like tv & video games that they forget how to move in the world. Of course, my kids watch tv & play some video games but I like to set limits on those things. I’ve also never pressured my kids to play team sports because unlike my husband, I was never a team sport player. In fact, I was the last person you would ever want on your team. I couldn’t hit, throw or catch. I didn’t even learn until high school that there were activities like running & swimming that were actually great to do on your own! Just the fact that my kids see me coming in from the gym or going out for a run, they see that I put an importance on movement & being active. They see the benefits of moving & it encourages them to be active as well.
What kinds of activity do you enjoy best & what results do you see from them?