She was tall with the slender, tight physique of a dancer. Man, she looked amazing. She is the mother of 3 and currently in her 60s. Vital, athletic. I mean, she must do yoga/pilates/weight train -all that stuff. I slipped it into conversation, “So…what do you do to work out?”
“I call it the Doberman Diet. I have two big dogs and every day, rain or shine, I walk them 3 miles.”
“That’s it? Do you do yoga? Anything else?”
“Nope. Well, I do yoga like once every 6 months, but really it’s just getting out with the dogs.”
I have a love-hate relationship with running. I get into it for a while -and I do love the runner’s high (so the best)- and fall out after a few weeks. Walking always seemed too wimpy, too “suburban mom” (and, in fact, I am a suburban mom -as much as I rail against the stereotype. That’s a whole separate post.) So walking felt like a waste of time -I wanted to get done faster (which is usually why I’d start running in the first place, just to get the dang workout over with.)
But when that lovely lady shared her secret -compounded with similar information I’d been hearing on several fitness podcasts toting the benefits of energetic walking- I grabbed on to it and am adopting that as a daily practice, particularly during pregnancy.
Even if you haven’t been active, start now. You don’t have to feel the burn, sweat profusely, or have it be punishment -because IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE! When you get out and MOVE you are caring for your body and you are caring for your baby. Your commitment to overall health is the best way to invest in your family’s health.
So let’s break it down.
We make time for that which is important to us, yes? Yes.
Showing up on time to work is important to us. Completing tasks others are counting on us to do is important to us. Feeding our families is important to us.
Now, I’d like you to say this three times out loud with me (yes, I’m saying it, too):
CARING FOR MY HEALTH+WELL BEING IS IMPORTANT TO ME.
Did you cringe a little bit? I did. Because often I don’t feel like I’m worth taking care of -others have the priority, not me. YET when I look at my day I see so much wasted time (ahem, twiddling around on social media) that I could have used just a portion of and done something to take care of myself.
So here’s another one to say out loud together, then go back and repeat one we just did:
I AM WORTH TAKING CARE OF.
Because, Oh You of Immeasurable Value, are worth taking care of. You are worth the time spent getting some healthy walking in.
The Benefits of Walking
This may be pretty “duh,” but the points are worth repeating.
Movement is good for our bodies. Get the blood flowing, work those legs, pump those arms, oxygen flooding our system and making our cells happy! It’s preparing your body for the joyful rigors of childbirth. And it’s a beautiful thing!
Think and learn. I love love LOVE listening to podcasts while I walk. A lot of the folks I’m digging right now have at least hour-long podcasts which fit perfectly into my 3 mile goal. I get to learn and generate ideas, hear new perspectives and thoughts all while doing good for my body.
Flexibility. Some may nay-say this, but I believe walking keeps your body limber (as opposed to if you were inactive.) Integrating prenatal yoga is a BIG plus if you want -and I’ll do a separate post with links to some great youtube sites that you’ll love. But simply by moving your body for an extended period of time on a regular basis will improve your overall mobility.
As your baby grows and your weight therefore increases, your strength will build over time as you keep up your waking habit. After your baby’s born -shoot, girl- you’re going to be one power walker. And you will love your stroller time with your baby bundle as you continue moving! Start now, make it a habit and you and your children will benefit for years to come.
So whether you have 20 minutes a day or 2 hours, dedicate some sacred time to caring for yourself and your baby. Because you and your baby are SO WORTH IT.