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Moms Get Motivated to Work Out

For years, it’s been my favorite line — Yeah, I work out, my washer and dryer are in the basement and all our bedrooms are on the top floor. After all, I’m busy with two preschoolers.

Before my first pregnancy, I did exercise a little. I took an aerobics class after work two evenings a week, and my husband and I enjoyed bike riding on some weekends, although we weren’t all that committed to regular exercise. But pregnancy, for me, was all the excuse I needed to give up the aerobics class – I didn’t want to take any chances in a class not geared for pregnant women, and I didn’t have any energy to spare anyway. (I didn’t bother to find out then the many benefits there are to workouts during pregnancy or to learn which exercises would be perfectly safe.) Suddenly, I realized five years had passed since I had done any serious working out.

One evening I stood at the kitchen sink, finishing up washing dishes and planning my reward: ahhh, cappuccino chocolate chip ice cream awaited me in the freezer and would be so satisfying to eat in a clean kitchen. It was one of those perfect evenings — no wind, gorgeous sunset, cool air after a hot Colorado summer day. I was actually tempted to go outside to walk instead. Walk instead of ice cream? Me? So I gave in to the temptation and left my husband in charge of finishing the bedtime routine for our two kids. I put on my old Nikes and hit the sidewalk. It was glorious. The view of the sky, the fresh air – I even found the energy to do a little running. Even more encouraging, after just a few weeks of working out about every-other evening, I could run most of my two-mile route.

That beautiful evening’s walk was the beginning of a new routine. I don’t go out every day, that’s not really possible, but I’ve found that if I plan and remain flexible, I can get out about four times a week. I’m convinced that no matter what the health benefits are, the way I feel after a workout will keep me committed to doing it, even when the weather changes and offers me new excuses.

It is tough for moms of young kids to exercise. Kathryn Schmitz, a researcher at the University of Minnesota found that after the birth of their first child, up to 20 percent of women reduce the time they spend working out.

While it seems obvious that having children would cut into time previously devoted to exercise, it seems equally obvious that moms need the benefits of exercise.

Losing the extra weight gained during pregnancy is just one reason to get busy exercising again. For those lucky enough to not be overweight, many, many more good reasons may help spur you on and ignore those old excuses. You probably already know about many of the benefits of exercise, but how about the benefits that could change your health and your life.

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