I used to think that being fit meant that I needed to spend time in the gym. Hours. I had to do cardio, lift weights, stretch. I had to do it all. When I was younger, I had the time for those 1-2 hour gym excursions. Not anymore. That may change and it may not, but for now what I’ve realized I need my fitness to be is useful. And I’m striving to teach my children the same thing.
We ride our bikes to and from school whenever we can. We walk to the store on occasion. We walk the nearby paths almost daily and always walk to the nearby parks. We walk our dog, for his benefit and ours. We bike ride and just cruise the neighborhood for fun. We go on longer hikes in more adventurous places. We go to special open swim times for littles. And when we do go to the gym, we found a place where the kids are just as active in the daycare – jumping in ball-pits and climbing up and through tunnels.
For the kids, our hope is that they are brought up with this naturally active lifestyle. That biking to work might not feel weird, or even be a question. We talk a lot about the benefits for us and the earth when we are active like this and we hope that it resonates in their spirit.
For me, my hope is that through this crazy, busy time in my life I can see (and feel!) that being fit doesn’t have to be about the gym. Getting my heart rate going while jogging next to the little bikes, lifting and holding 30 lb kids while we are hiking in the woods, and stopping randomly to do a few yoga pose challenges on the walking paths are all efficient ways to stay healthy and strong while providing my kids with their lives as well.
Some of my friends do go to the gym for those 2 hour chunks, and I love them for that, too. What happened for me was that it wasn’t fitting into the life I wanted anymore and it ended up in some major guilt. So again, trying to strip away the “rules” that somewhere in my life I created for myself, I tried to start noticing how much I could do at home during the day that could replace what I did in the gym. It’s all up to you. Whatever you need is what you should do, because I promise you this – the stress you cause yourself about the workout (whether it’s to rid the guilt of not getting to the gym, or the guilt of wanting to get to the gym) the stress is countering the workout you’re trying to get to.
Be brave and do you. Being happy makes you healthy, too.