When I was in my teens and even my 20s staying fit was pretty easy for me. I could put the minimum amount of work in and look fit. After having 2 children in my early 30′s I realized that staying fit with little work was no longer going to be easy and would take a lot more time and effort. As a mom I’m sure alot of you agree it’s easy to put things aside that take a lot of time when your children keep you busy.
After having my first child I was the heaviest I had ever been so I made the decision that if I wanted to be a good mom I would have to start taking care of myself. If I had stayed on the present course I was going to get terribly out of shape and would never be able to keep up with my super active child. So I started weighing my options. What could I do that would combine fitness with my child? The simple solution was running. I found a couch to 5k running plan and bought a used jogging stroller off of craig’s list for $25. The stroller is from the ice age and is not very pretty to look at but you know what? I still have it and love it. You don’t have to spend alot of money to get in shape. If you choose running all you need is a good pair of running shoes and a stroller if you are planning on running with your child.
Once the temperature got to warm to run mid morning with my son I started getting up around 6 am to run before my husband left for work. I have to say that I absolutely love running in the early morning. There’s something magical about running before most people are awake and you can just be outside with nature. On a slightly funny note we lived in Texas at this time and most of the birds around were vultures. I must say as I was huffing and puffing along it was unnerving to have vultures hopping behind me.
During my early morning runs I was able to remember who I was and regain my own identity. It’s so easy to become so and so’s wife or so and so’s mother and forget that you are an individual worth knowing on your own. Taking time for yourself will only make you a better mom, wife and person.
When I started my training plan I looked on active.com and picked a 5k race that was about 10 weeks out. I paid the entry fee and used it as motivation to keep up with working out. I find that if you post your training plan up where you will see it everyday it will do 2 things – 1. you’ll know exactly what you are suppose to do that day and secondly, it will keep you motivated. I think doing 5ks are alot of fun and quickly got my husband running them. We would take turns pushing our son in the jogging stroller.
Once I got pregnant with our daughter I kept up running through my 2nd trimester. I even did an off-road 5k race and pushed my son in his stroller. That was one of the most fun races I have ever done. It had rained the night before so the trail was pretty muddy and we got filthy. If you have the option to do a mud run or off-road race DO IT! They are so much fun and what kid doesn’t like to get dirty.
Another way we meshed out kids with our active life is that we got a backpackthat we wear when we go hiking. That way we can go anywhere and the kiddos can enjoy being out in nature with us. My backpack is an ergo carrier and I absolutely love it. We have hiked in TX, OK, and all over NC with our kids in the carriers.
A final way to combine kids and fitness is through bike riding. Both my husband and I have mountain bikes so we bought a bike trailer and can take the kids everywhere we go. This summer we went down to GA for our family vacation. We went to Jekyll Island; which is incredibly family friendly. We were able to park the car and rode our bikes everywhere we went with the kids in the bike trailer. The kids absolutely love it and we hear them squealing behind us.
This week we got a Trail-a-bike which is a tandem half bike that attaches to theback of an adult bike. Your child sits on it and can pedal and feel like they are riding but if they get tired they can just stop peddling. It’s perfect for our 4 year old because we like to ride 10-15 miles when we go out and there is no way he could keep up with us on his little bike. I have to say it’s the cutest darn thing. My husband ended up giving all the kids in the neighborhood rides last night.
I really believe exercise is important for kids. I want me daughter to see that she has an active mom willing to try just about any sport so that she someday will be fearless also. Our kids are so bombarded these days with technology and never seem to be able to unplug. I feel that being active outside will be able to give them the break they will need from cell phones, computers and who know’s what by the time they get older. So even if all you do is walk around your neighborhood at night with your family you will never regret it. It’s a great way to spend time with your family and start you on the road to fitness.
Go visit Kristina at www.racingandsavingmama.com Kristina is mom to Nola and Levi and she blogs about fitness for busy moms household economy and the joys of motherhood. We are pleased as punch to have her as our guest blogger.