I never thought finding time for a healthy activity could be so darn challenging! I absolutely loved how terrific I felt in my twenties and early thirties when working out became a huge priority for me. I became so involved in my quest for a manageable weight that I became a Certified Aerobics Instructor. Later, earning a Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor Certification fulfilled my need to work out and help others achieve their goals.
Getting fit was never easy for me. I looked to mentors and individuals who could inspire the changes that needed to transpire. Then...like many individuals who have endured life changing trauma and personal road blocks, I fell away from one of the very things I needed most to manage my stress - Exercise and Healthy Meal Planning. A failed long term relationship following a long distance move to Texas and a new job all combined to create the perfect storm. I stopped working out and old habits returned.
I went on to marry and have three children who mean the world to me. After the birth of my last child, I encountered extreme complications following my C-Section and required emergency open heart surgery one week later. I nearly lost my life. Thank God a cardiac specialist and surgeon was on call in the ER the day I was brought in. He assessed the situation and recognized that I had a rare complication. I was in surgery within 3 hours of the call I made to 911.
I give myself credit too. My understanding of what was happening to my body and the jobs I have held in the health care field gave me the knowledge necessary to provide complete information to my first responders. I was able to confidently identify what I believed was happening to my body and clearly explained the medical history of my C-Section that lead to a speedy diagnosis. I didn't panic. I gave as much emergency information as possible as quickly as I could in the event I became unconscious.
So years later, I am still coming to grips with the long term grieving that I have been struggling to overcome. There are many other details of events that were occurring simultaneously in our family situation. The heart attack was as much an emotional symptom as it was a physical one. Two weeks ago I decided it was time to move on. I have been following the progress of a former colleague and have been impressed by her successes. Last week my cousin posted that she planned to run two mile per day for 40 days of Lent with 80 miles being her goal. It's inspirations such as these that propel me forward.
I fortunately found a Gold's Gym close to our home that allows me to bring my 11 year old daughter into the workout area where we can use the treadmills, elliptical machines, weight equipment, and heated pool. Since the facility is new we were able to obtain an excellent family membership for a reasonable fee. There are many body types who participate in working out and the environment is non-intimidating...a far cry from the days when I taught classes at Gold's Gym in Texas so long ago. There are no hard core body builders and the attire is much less revealing. Yoga pants and more modest t-shirts are acceptable.
My 8 and 6 year old sons are excited to participate in the Kid's Club while my daughter and I work out. I have found that the best schedule for us is to have a light early dinner (right after school) then immediately head to the gym before all the evening classes start. Monday night we had an issue because my 8 year old is prone to sensory overload. We arrived too late and the kid's room was packed and already buzzing with activity. We had to change our plans. I took the kids to the park instead for 30 minutes then took the boys home to stay with their dad. My daughter and I returned to the gym to complete our workout.
It would have been easy to just go home and not follow through. But I am determined to make this into a habit that the entire family can share. Tuesday night was better. We had our early dinner, worked out, came home, and I made a small, light snack before it was time to get ready for bed. Little by little I am finding my way back. Working out is a battle right now. I hope that one day the routine will become as natural and expected as any other part of our family's day.
Until then...I will continue to find inspiration in others who are on a quest to become healthier, happier, and more aware that exercise is one of the strategies that can help reduce stress and raise body awareness.
Coming Soon: A New Blog dedicated to A Healthier and More Active Lifestyle: "Monkey Bars, Mud Pies, and Movement" for Families with Children and for Adults who Remember the Fun from Childhood.