Tuesday, September 20, 2011

my kid: personal trainer

With my ongoing efforts to address my lapsed fitness as of late and test some of my fresh meat fitness training before I actually insist anyone else doing it, I've added some daily resistance training to my life.  Me and exercise, we go way back.  When I was a kid my mom used to rock out to Jane Fonda and her aerobizing ilk.  I learned to associate a rhythmic bass beat with leg lifts and climbing invisible stairs.  I was surprisingly old before I discovered that not all dancing involved a one-two side step and kick, hand ups, whooo!  To this day, when dancing at the after party, I still struggle with my need to point my fingers up at the sky and count and six, and seven, and whooo!

Though, maybe in derby, this isn't really odd enough behavior to deserve commentary.

In middle school I did a fair amount of long distance running.  Couldn't sprint worth a darn (today my quick feet today always look like I'm skating through knee high syrup) but, man, I could go and go and go.  My favorite place to run was around the 1/4 mile track.  Round and round.  Seems a familiar pattern somehow...

And then when I was older I... wait... Nope.  I have no particular sport or enthusiasm that I can claim I did consistently.  A bit of running, a yoga class here and there, mostly just trying to keep up with life.

So, this is me now, on the wrong side of thirty, humbling myself daily doing push-ups, sit-ups, planks and squats on the living room floor.

With children around it is phenomenally difficult to find time to do a consistent exercise routine.  Or to find enough space without conking a miniature person on the head (no free weights here before the kids' bedtime).  I know that children keep you busy and certainly exhaust you thoroughly, but it's not the type of activity that enhances fitness.  It's more of a shuffle-y, bent back series of minor disasters and the type of servitude associated with scullery maids in fairy tales.  In the end I'm more likely to have a back ache rather than any appreciable gain in cardiovascular endurance.

Trying to integrate a bit of intentional exercise into my day has me working hard in short bursts during serendipitous times when I'm suddenly involved in a game of tag or the kids are jumping on me and I can do some leg lifts with children as weights.  I'm becoming good at sneaking fitness in through bits and pieces.  The stairs done twice, once with the kids wrapped around my ankles and back up again with the stroller, the skipping demo, the looong walk with an exhausted preschooler riding piggyback. 

I'm always on the lookout for the extended cardio workout.  Something that will get my heart working harder without having to stop every two seconds to untangle children from my feet or put them into time out.  Today I was particularly excited because I noticed how fast my three year old can scoot on his tricycle.  When I had to run to catch up to him in the yard, I thought there might be an opportunity for both of us here.  If we hit our most excellent local walking trails, he can ride and gain a bit of freedom, and I can run and gain a bit of endurance.

I wasn't entirely certain I could keep up with him if I let him out of our enclosed yard, since he has endless energy and I am, sadly, finite in the stamina department.  Still, to test this, I put on my running shoes and sports bra while the boy put on his helmet and grabbed his trike, and we headed out to pick up my older child from school.

I am impressed at my kid, pedaling what amounted to twelve blocks of distance.  It was his first real extended ride and it's pretty obvious he is born to it.  Of course there were a couple of rest stops, some jumped curbs.  And after we picked up my older girl and our young neighbors, the ride became more like an episode of Jackass, especially between my son and the neighbor boy, who together at ages three and four are already adept at ramp jumping and have come up with some extremely bad ideas involving swinging large sticks and ingesting non-traditional sources of protein.   

My experience was more a series of sprints than a regular jog, but as the boy becomes used to open spaces and I get him a bike with larger wheels, then I can see some real possibility for a full out extended run.   

Yay!  Aren't wheels great?

I was thinking that I'd throw both kids' bikes into the truck later today and pop down to the high school track.  Then I can keep my eye on them while we all go our own pace. 

Round and round.


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