Before I had kids I was a runner. I wasn’t great at it by any means, but it was a way to keep fit. If I could run a minimum of three times a week I could maintain a fitness level that made running pleasurable. But if I missed too many runs it became unpleasant and a lot of effort until I rebuilt my stamina. When I did my post-doc I was too busy to run frequently enough, so I switched to power walking. I loved it. I would go for a very brisk walk (no crazy arm-swinging, though!) around different neighbourhoods, enjoying the scenery, not getting winded, and feeling just as good whether I’d walked four times the last week or hadn’t walked for a while.

All that stopped when I had my first child and I haven’t done any regular exercise since. Not that looking after children is lazy work. And I have to credit breastfeeding for helping me maintain a good body weight. After I lost the pregnancy pounds from my first child I weighed 10 lbs less than I had when I got pregnant. I maintained that right up to my second pregnancy, and got back down to it in the same time I did before (about 9 months post-partum). I’ve kept my weight pretty steady despite indulging my sweet tooth on a pretty regular and unrestrained basis. But lately I’ve noticed the scales creeping up and I suspect the honeymoon is coming to an end. I’m dayweaning DS, which may have something to do with it, but even if my weight weren’t rising I should still start exercising again. I’m not getting any younger and I want to make sure I stay healthy for my kids.

Several things have come together to make me decide it’s time to start regular exercise again. First and foremost the kids are sleeping well. DD spends most nights in her own bed right through until morning, and DS has been sleeping much better as well. There are actually mornings now where I’m waking up feeling like I got a decent sleep, rather than being in a fog and wanting to grab every last minute in bed I can get. It’s spring and the sun is up early. And it’s warm. DH’s schedule at work is more relaxed. So I have made the decision to get up early with DH a couple times during the workweek and head off for a power walk while he’s getting ready for work; and also fit one in on a weekend morning. Today was the perfect day to start: I had a pretty good sleep and DS woke me up at 7 am. The day was sunny and bright after a week of heavy rains, so I suited up in my exercise togs (I had to dust off my running shoes!) and headed out.

It was fantastic!

It’s amazing how much ground you can cover when you don’t have two little ones in tow. I made it to the park in 6 minutes – I went down a trail, along the lagoon, over to the harbour…and I still had time to stop and pick up fresh bagels on the way home. I could feel the work in my leg muscles and the backs of my thighs – not pain but definitely working them hard. Knowing I was doing my body good, combined with the gorgeous scenery and the freshness of an early weekend morning (only the dog walkers and old people were out), put me in the best mood. I came home practically bouncing. I’d forgotten how much exericse improves mood.

I am not usually a morning person and I know there will be days when it will be hard to drag my butt out of bed and go outside. But I think the joy of being able to walk freely (read: alone!) will be a big motivating factor. Now that I remember how good it feels to do this, hopefully it won’t be hard to convince myself to do it again soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the weight drop off – I’ve gained about 5 lbs in the last month or so and I’d be very happy if I could lose that plus another 2 lbs.

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