I don’t love working out.
Physical activity is not something I crave, it’s something I have to make myself do. It’s always been a struggle for me to keep active, but throughout my life I’ve found things that worked for me: high school sports, going to the gym with a friend, or fun exercise classes to help pull me out of my contented position on the couch.
But, life happens, things change, and you find yourself in new situations that pose different challenges to keeping up with your healthy routine. I now have a little, active 1-year-old running all over the place, and while I love love love being a new Mom, it’s been a major struggle for me to stay active over this last year. And, more than ever before, I find myself cringing at the thought of the gym.
And so I’m left at home with a stroller, and a baby sitting in it.
Most women love their stroller walks – they live for them! Not me. For the first few months, every stroll felt like a punishment. I had no one to talk to, I was going so slowly, I could never decide how much I should be talking to the baby – was I talking too much? I mean, he’s asleep! Am I ignoring him? He doesn’t even seem to like this! Once he was old enough to face forward, I would sometimes stop and poke my head around to smile at him and get a smile back, but he would refuse to look at me. At first, I didn’t know how to take this. Was he mad at me? Was he unhappy?
But then it hit me.
My son was so unbelievably blown away by the scenery on these walks that he could not pull his eyes away from his new, beautiful surroundings for one second to look at his poor mother. That’s when I realized I had been thinking about these walks all wrong. I had been telling myself I HAD to go out on a walk to get some exercise for myself, and had been ignoring the fact that my cute little baby enjoyed being outside and seeing new things more than anything else we did all day.
From that point on, I made a promise to myself and to him that we’d go for a walk every day I was home with him. Telling myself that I was doing something for my child motivated me much more than telling myself I had to work out. It doesn’t hurt that I’m burning calories, but to know that I’m making him so happy actually helped make these strolls enjoyable.
So, even if our circumstances change, so can our incentives. What motivates you to keep moving?
Tags: active, active living, community, Department of Public Health, DPH, exercise, health, healthy, healthy kids, healthy living, Lani Telian, Mass in Motion, Massachusetts, nature, outdoors, physical activity, Prevention, public health, walking, youth
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