Archive for the ‘exercise’ Tag

Bikercise

I had planned to write more about the Fitbit this week, but this past Saturday I ended up going for a bit more of a sprint than I intended on doing. My daughter and I were running late for her ballet class mainly because I was trying to do too many things. She took her bike which allows us to get to class on time. Last wAnalupe bikeeek she was just remembering how to bike, and I had a pleasant jog keeping up with her. Now she remembers how to ride her bike. She can bike fast! Luckily I knew I would be jogging a little so I had worn my back pack instead of a shoulder bag, and I had on my sneakers, but it was not a jog; it was a sprint. Longer sprints than I’ve been doing when I do my wave workouts.

Unfortunately with the busy morning and the too many things to do, I forgot to put on my Fitbit HR so I have no idea what my heart rate went up to, but pretty high I would guess as I was breathing hard. I also forgot the bike lock and my daughter’s ballet shoes. Too many things to do, not enough time being in the present.

This summer it will be a huge challenge to keep up with both my kids when they are on their bikes and I will be wearing my running sneakers a lot. Or I’ll just have to learn to bike in NYC, which is not high on my list of things I wish to learn.

Relaxation

Last night was a fun evening that reminded me of previous nights, where dinner was interrupted with a cartwheel competition, or just a “look at what I can do” moment of physical activity. My husband was finishing preparing dinner as my daugRelaxationhter began doing her moves. She showed how she now does her arch (wheel for us yoga folks) based on what she had learned in gymnastics class that day. A large, full, energized wheel, that after holding it for an extended amount of time left her tired. So, I showed her how to relax her body fully in Savasana. From there I recalled the relaxation assists that I had learned over the years and performed a few on her. She loved it, the feeling of caring from her mother, but also the wave like motion from the thoracic into the cervical spine with a very gentle traction of the head, and working from the other end, a gentle traction of the spine. In my work I have recently not been performing these sorts of hands on assists with my clients very often as the cause of the body being tight is a decrease in stability and the worst thing for that is for an outside force to create further instability. However, watching her as she melted and the deep relaxation that she was able to attain, it was beautiful to see and a reminder that relaxation is an important skill to learn at any age.

Waves Next to Waves

My newest workout consists of intervals, but not traditional intervals where a short burst of cardio activity is used to elevate the heart rate followed by a conditioning exercise where the heart rate only partially recovers. In these intervals I want my heart rate to reach close to maximum and then have a full recovery between before I begin the next interval. This means standing, or preferably sitting, catching my breath followed by a bit of yogic breathing to slow the heart rate. I do a total of 5 or 6 intervals. The idea is to create a wave with my heart rate: crests and troughs.

Beach in Santa Marta, ColombiaThis past week while the Northeast and my home in Brooklyn was enduring an arctic blast, I had the luxury of spending some time on a beach, creating waves next to waves. The kids mainly wanted to spend the days in the pool, but I convinced my daughter to join me one morning for a walk to the beach with the intention of a bit of exercise. We arrived, took off our sandals and set our goals: I would sprint down to a red tent on the beach and back, she would sprint a shorter distance to the unused volleyball post and back. I took off at a sprint while she stood with our sandals, bag of towels, and her doll that had joined us and was taking a nap. It was wonderful: the sound of the waves, the bright sun, the feel of the sand under my bare feet but also the extra focus and attention that was required to choose the best path so as not twist an ankle on the loosely packed, damp sand, very different than running on a treadmill in the depths of winter. I raced back to my daughter sufficiently winded to conclude that the distance I selected took about a minute round trip. As I recovered my daughter took off on her sprint, down to the pole and back. She was ready for me to go as soon as she returned, but I wisely listened to my body and we talked and rested a bit first and then I ran again. We continued this process until I had completed five sprints and my daughter four; that was more than enough for her little legs, and it was getting hot.

I enjoyed the sprints on the beach with my daughter as it is always wonderful to have company while exercising. In addition we both discovered that cartwheels are fun to do on the sand and looking at the ocean while upside down in a handstand is quite disorienting.

A New Method of Transporting Kids

My son and I have a new method of transportation for kids. We did not play to develop this, in fact he wished to prevent my movement. He locked himself around my leg and I dragged him along as I went on my way mildly fettered by the 7 year old latched onto my lower leg. The almost 4 year old decided that this looked like so much fun that she joined in the fun by latching onto my other leg. So, there I was dragging my kids from one end of the apartment to the other wearing my 45 pound “shuffler” magnetic boot on one foot and my 27 pound magnetic boot on the other. This is an excellent balance challenge although an uneven workout. Next time I’ll need to switch the kids to opposite legs! It’s a good exercise for the kids too, maintaining their grip on a moving leg. And fun too!

The Wheelbarrow

Exercise of the week: The wheelbarrow

This is one of our new favorites and for some reason it is also very effective as a tool to get my children into the bathroom to take their baths.

Begin by having your child place both hands on the floor. Instruct your child to lift one leg while keeping their arms straight. (Yoga: downward dog split position). Hold that one foot and instruct your child to lift the other foot. Now you are holding both feet. Have the child begin to walk on their hands. Caution: go slow so you do not throw your child forward off balance.

To come out of the wheelbarrow instruct your child to lift their hips and belly (serious belly strengthening). As the child lifts, you lower their feet onto the floor and under them, they end on hands and feet.

Excellent for strengthening your child’s arms and abdominal muscles and more importantly, it’s fun!

A blank page.

Our children come into the world, much like a blank page but with personality. A blue page, or a pink or a textured page but blank. The underlying being is there but the words have not been written, and especially not engraved in stone. What do we decide to teach them? There are so many possibilities, important things like, numbers, letters, names for things, to get along with other kids, look both ways when they cross the street, and to not pick their noses in the middle of ballet class.

I believe that for me the most important thing I can teach my children is a love of physical activity. Except I didn’t need to teach them this, they were born with it. (The way I may have influenced my children and their physicality was by being as physically active as I could be while I was pregnant. I ran, I stretched, I did yoga, push-ups, lifted weights, and walked many miles a day. So, my kids came out running give or take about 9 months. Check my fitness pregnancy blog if you want more details. An excellent resource if you are considering being active during your pregnancy is the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F Clapp III MD and remember to consult your ob/gyn or midwife.) I’m sure most, if not all children, are born with this love of being physical, the need to explore the world around them and the only way to do that is by moving.

Let the crawlers and toddlers be active, get out of their way, be close, spot the adventurous ones, but also let them fall, let them climb, pick them up, let them explore some more. And so quickly the toddler years are over. Preschool years begin and we, as parents, begin our anxiety about schooling our kids. Relax. Let the preschool years and early elementary years still be about motor skills, both fine and gross motor skills. You can focus on their “schooling” from first or second grade until they are through high school and into college. School will not keep your kids active, in fact it’s the beginning of a decline into adult sedentary living!

So let your kids be active! Have a cartwheel competition, a handstand competition, a jump on one foot competition, a bridge competition. Just do it with your kids! Let them see your love of being active, of sweating, of exercising, of playing a sport, and then give them an airplane ride or wrestle a bit.

Airplane

Why I Need To Be More (in shape that is)

I don’t like to tell my kids that I can’t do something because I am tired, or aching, or any other excuse, yet in the past year (or two) I have been saying this more and more. The worst thing is for my three year old to start imitating me saying “I can’t do that, my back hurts” or ” I can’t, my leg hurts” or “I’m too tired” when she is perfect health and just woke from a nap. Definitely not the example I wish to set! I need to have all my parts working again. Yes, I would be happy to lose 5 pounds to get back to my pre-children weight, but its the quality of life issue. Even more important is the example I set for my children. I want to be able to play with my children, to be their horse, their slide, tunnel, or bridge, or to take them for a ride on my airplane legs, to allow them to stand on my shoulders and do back flips to the floor! It’s fun to play with them in a physical manner and they still need the physical closeness with their mother. That is the best motivation to give my body the extra time and attention it needs to become strong again.

Exercise and Folding Laundry: Are they compatible?

The answer today is yes!

This morning I wanted to exercise, however a couple loads of laundry were piled up on the couch waiting to be folded. Two (or more) things needed to be done and only time for one. That seems to be the mother’s daily dilemma. I solved this dilemma to my satisfaction by jogging in place while folding the laundry. This was a super low impact workout, not intense, and only 12-15 minutes in duration. I jogged and folded, jogged and placed the clothes in the appropriate pile. One for me, one for my husband, one for my daughter and one for my son. And jogged some more. Folding the sheets was a little tricky and trippy, but possible. And Voila! Laundry done, heart rate moderately raised, and the 3 year old joined me for some stretches.

It was a good morning for movement.

It’s been almost a year since my last post…

and I am still struggling to juggle work, the needs of two kids and exercise! Luckily I have an active life, but really it’s hard to do everything, especially meet my own needs. I have managed to exercise every now and again, and really the only way to do it seems to be to either incorporate my children or ignore them as they crawl over, under and through me. But really that is the best way to exercise, fun for them, fun for me and even though it takes a bit longer at least they will see that exercise is something that I enjoy doing!

The Problem with Independence Day

The problem with independence day is now we sit when we go to the park, which is nice; usually we are tired, the mamas, not the toddlers. So today I met my friend and the kids played and we sat. Cadman Plaza park was full of kids and nanny’s. The nanny’s sat, benches and benches full of nanny’s, some sat on the steps surrounding the plaza, and yes, here and there, were mothers sitting. Not all, but most. We sat.

What kind of an example are we setting as we sit? What kind of role models are we? Playing and running around is for kids. Adults sit. Oh sometimes the adults exercise, but that is the time for the child to leave the adults alone so they can do the all important EXERCISE. Exercise is something adults have to do, not so much something that is fun to do. Something they have to do to make up for all the time adults spend sitting. Running around a park and having fun, that’s what kids do.

But then I noticed kids sitting all in a row, 6 or 8 of them. And what were they doing? Watching. Watching some adults play tug of war!

Later we did stop sitting, we joined our children in a game of jumping off a tall wall, one by one, two by two and four by four. That was exercise and a whole lot of fun.