Trailing Three Kids

The sometimes-fickle-bone in my body makes the whole process of getting into a true fitness routine a bit of a stretch. I reach for it but that nasty bone just gets in the way, offering excuses that would talk Joan of Arc down from the burning pier.

The reason to avoid sweating that most often crops up and allows me to cross exercise off my to-do list is: my children. Either directly - we're too busy, have no baby-sitter or they need me for something else - or indirectly - I'm too tired, too moody, too fried or all three - this excuse enables me to wimp out a lot.

It doesn't help that working out doesn't come naturally to me. I'm a reader not a runner. It's not that I didn't grow up spending lots of time outside, it's just that I was orchestrating backyard cousin concerts and pretend Indian encampments, not footraces and field-days.

I feel a lot like an elephant when I run.
Thump, thump, thump.
And while elephants are amazing creatures and my favorite animal... I don't want to look like one!

The flip-side is that I feel great when I make myself workout and I am certainly pleased when the efforts and results prove positive. So this year as I made my list of Summer goals I tried to be realistic about how to incorporate some mommy-movement into our sunshiny days.

Now, I did try (twice) to take my two oldest with me to Jazzercise. This went reasonably well considering they thought they were being given front row seats to a MTV music-video screening. Unfortunately I'm not sure any of the women there really appreciated an audience, including me. Moves Like a Gazelle was not my Indian name.

'Observe Nature' was one of the goals I wrote down for this Summer and it seems to work well with the fitness bit. We are lucky enough to have a beautiful walking/bike trail not far from where we live. It winds around the edge of town, criss-crossing a creek, in and around stands of trees and there are glimpses of wildlife to be seen quite frequently if you are watching.

So we walk. I push the stroller or let Pip run. The older two sometimes bring their bikes and the babble of my littlest boy is a sweet and hearty anthem for our stroll. My only complaints are the sudden bursts of mosquitoes and the occasional penchant of my older son to ride too far ahead.

We all benefit from our evening outing. They are full of excitement over whatever bit of nature they witnessed as well as tired-out and easily enticed to get in their beds. I have the new-found shot of happy energy it takes to execute the bedtime ritual with the patience of Ma Ingalls and maybe even have enough left over to get something done when the house is all quiet.

It's a good thing.
I tell you, working out with children can work out.

On the Trail in NE

P.S. Another way I hope to add some calorie burning to my daily agenda is by playing more outdoor games with my kids... That said, I don't even want to know what kind of animal I look like while playing soccer or chasing a Frisbee! I'm not sure I'll take pictures of that one.

A few more ideas for fitting in fitness:
Frantic housework (invite someone over, that always works)
Gardening (bonus: healthy veggies)
Walking to other activities (library, pool, etc)

How do you fit it in?


  1. I get up before the sun and run - and run some more - and I go to the gym later to lift weights while the kids get to play in the free ChildWatch room. Then later I get to play with them and don't even have to think of it as exercise - just plain ol' fun, like they do. :)
    And I think I'm proof you can be both a reader AND a runner! I love both.
    And too, I used to sound and feel like an elephant when I ran; I felt clunky, going thud, thud. But then I changed my form and footstrike. Now I feel lighter and springier and it's a LOT more fun to run! Not that I'm gazelle fast but at least I'm not galumphing along either. ;p


  2. Oh, those lovely days of the kids all young together and enjoying themselves. You may not get just the workout you want just now, but you are teaching your children to enjoy the outdoors, and to enjoy using their bodies. Someday, perhaps they will really exercise with you.
    Kudos, for playing with them. It is something I should have done oftener.

  3. Great post! I've found that either incorporating the kiddos into activity (fun) or doing a workout video after bedtime (not fun) is about the only way I accomplish anything to do w/ exercise. Glad to see you all having fun together :)

  4. I love your blog, Raimie!!! Love this post too! :-) xoxo (And congrats on being featured!!! You need to post about that too!)

  5. Congrats on your BlogHer feature! Your blog = always a treat...

  6. Dear Fun AND fitness,

    I love the trail pics....especially the one with the clouds reflected in the creek!

    Taking walks are the best for me these days. I really enjoy when someone or just the dogs....join me. Good conversations & observations. (Of course the dogs are not so good at responding to my questions hee hee!)

    love, love, love,
    Walking at Keybrook Hollow

  7. kids.... good thing yours are so stinkin' cute!!!
    i'm lucky I have a few pieces of equipment downstairs. even though my workout is just a few steps away, i find plenty of reason i "can't" do a workout.

    for me, i find i never have 'enough' time. it's all about MAKING time. somedays it's easier than others. i've tried to remind myself, that little steps (workouts) are better than no workouts.

  8. when the kids were really little i had a babysitter come just once a week for 2 hours and i went and did a yoga workout. maybe not alot of cardio but it got me in touch with myself. even just for a couple hours a week. that's what i needed at the time. i did enough cleaning/ running after the kids/ playing outside/ not over eating to stay reasonable in shape..or if i wasn't in shape i was pregnant again. as the kids got older and we moved away from my familiar babysitter i did join the y..free child care for a couple hours. and i could go more often! now with the kids old enough i have to schedule in exercise time early in the day or it won't happen. i do activities with them , but, there's more laundry and just other stuff to distract so if i don't make it happen it doesn't seem to later in the day. having a buddy to work out with seems to be ideal for me!! when my friends don't show up to work out..i tend to go back to sleep! ha. Sounds like you're doing great for what stage of life you're in. Have fun. Love the kiddos and eat lots of veggies.


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