Exercising versus being active

Before I got pregnant with Kai, I did my best to walk 10,000 steps, or 5 miles, a day. The only way I was able to pull that off was to get up at 4 am and walk before work. (Back then I got up to freelance at 5 am every day, including weekends.) This setup worked for a while, but then life intervened; first I suffered an allergy attack from the pine trees at the park I was walking at, and when I recovered, I got pregnant and started having dizzy spells. So getting up to walk in an isolated park before dawn didn’t sound like such a hot idea.

Since I gave birth, I’ve (reluctantly) settled on a goal of 3,000 steps a day. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s all I’ve had time for. And most days I haven’t even made that goal.

For my birthday, I received a Fitbit. Right away, I noticed that I’m getting more steps than I thought I was, because I don’t carry my phone with me every time I get up. But I’m still not getting more than 5,000 steps a day. And really, my life just doesn’t allow for long walks right now. Getting up at 6:45 has been a challenge, thanks to cosleeping and nursing on demand. Getting up earlier to go work out is impossible until he’s weaned, or at least old enough to safely get out of bed on his own. I haven’t even been able to go do yoga in the living room since he learned to roll over.

However, I have been able to squeeze in extra steps through activities. For example, if I go to the store, I get about 3,000 steps, maybe more. But if I go to the Dixon Gardens, I get over 5,000 steps. (Plus the upper-arm workout that comes from pushing a stroller down a gravel path.) If we go to the park, I get maybe 1,500 steps. If we go to My Big Backyard, I get 6,000+ steps. (MBBY is huge.)

The solution is clear: I need to stop trying to find time to exercise and start focusing on living an active life.

The gardens are a good start, but I could do more. If I saved all my errands for one day, I would save money and gas in addition to getting more steps. If we looked not to Target but to museums, parks, and other such places for outing destinations, I’d get more exercise and the kids might learn something. (Plus, fewer toys! Because they certainly don’t need more toys.)

Not that my morning routine couldn’t stand an overhaul. Sunday morning, I took Kai on an early morning walk, then squeezed in half an hour of yoga, some jackknives, a short meditation session, and a delicious tub of Noosa pumpkin yogurt before starting my day. Taking this time to nurture myself made the whole day better. Just imagine if I could do that every day! But I don’t have two free hours at the start of my day – not yet. Perhaps, though, I could capture some of that peace for my weekday mornings. I could squeeze in a meditation session and a couple of yoga poses, for instance. And I’ll work on selling Anya on the rest for the weekends. (She stayed with my parents while Kai and I went walking. Not big on exercise, that one.)

I feel so much better when I get up and move around. I need to make doing so a higher priority.

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