I’m on my feet most of the day, with three active children unschooling this year and a house to keep in order. It would be easy to flop at any given moment, instead of pushing on and seeking out more physical activity – but it’s true what ‘they’ say, ‘Exercise gives you energy’. Besides, I want to keep fit enough to keep up with my children – and take them on the amazing tramps of New Zealand’s National Parks that hubbie and I did in those ‘before children’ days. So, when they say, ‘Play tag Mum!’, ‘Come chase me!’, or invite me to head off on a roller blade session on the waterfront, I push any excuses to the back of my mind, and say, ‘Yes’. It’s almost like I’ve trained my tongue to say, ‘Yes’; regardless of whether my mind and body really wants to. Once the ‘Yes’ word is spoken out loud it’s like magic, there’s no going back.
And when it comes to exercising for myself, without the children joining in, it’s very much for my mental health, more than anything else (and perhaps a little guilt at the extra few wines I may have drunk in the past week and that chocolate cake that was begging to be finished and those left-over snacks…and, and, and…). So, when hubbie comes home from work, whilst the sun is still in the sky, and says, ‘Go on love, get your kit on and head out for a run!’, I say, ‘Yes’ (thinking, the wine can wait till later and will be even more deserved!). I often time my jog to finish on a beach, close to sunset, where hubbie can bring any willing children down to meet me (usually it’s Miss recently turned 4 that keenly volunteers).
There’s nothing like young children to put an adult through their paces. She springs from one stretch into the next with the ease of a Royal Ballet dancer, instructing me with positive encouragement to, ‘Copy me Mummy!’.
I call her my personal trainer, as she has a look that’s hard to turn away from and such an infectious zest of positive energy. She’ll have me stretching, doing squats, jumping jacks and tree poses at random intervals throughout the day. She keeps me on my toes and frequently surprises me with impromptu workouts whilst I’m waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning, or the eggs to boil. In her mind every moment counts and there’s no excuse.
We have yoga mats and a deck of cards with yoga poses within reach in the living room – it’s not yoga like you’d expect in a dedicated class, there’s rarely much deep breathing relaxation at the end – at least not without Mummy being climbed on – and the sequence of poses is random, but nevertheless it makes us all feel better to spend five, ten or thirty minutes (if I’m lucky) stretching and breathing.
Then there’s the more fast paced kind of exercise, when we take a few bats and balls to a park or head out for some roller blading along the waterfront in Santa Barbara. At the playground I am asked to have a go on the monkey bars and try a few chin ups… let’s just say I need to practice! There’s opportunities in any day to exercise and keep fit – it’s just down to being open to it and getting involved. The more I say, ‘Yes’ to my children, the better I feel – and the more we all end up exercising! Just got to keep on going, and going, and going… (surely it must be wine o’clock time by now?!). xx