Find time to exercise.
One of the many casualties of motherhood, for me, is exercise. This is partly due to the fact that every time I recover from giving birth long enough to get a grip on my life, I get pregnant again. I’ve dabbled in yoga, tennis, jogging and skipping (Yes, skipping – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it) but nothing is sustainable. Either my interest peters out or my body no longer responds – it always comes to a halt.
Full-time motherhood is far more active than most office jobs. I used to sit at a desk all day, in front of a screen, only occasionally getting up to gossip over coffee in the kitchen, or take a leisurely toilet break. These days I never stop moving and I certainly do more weight bearing exercises than before children. My right hip has had an infant perched on it for years.
After the birth of Miss H (11 months ago) I decided that as soon as I got my head above water I would commence an exercise regime. It needed to be something that didn’t involve a pram or navigating the playground equipment with my kids. I am tool old for slippery dips! But it’s taken some time to forge a plan.
Firstly, my head only surfaced a few months ago. Then I faced the challenge of choosing an appropriate form of exercise. I considered joining a gym but I don’t really like gyms. I could get a personal trainer – they seem like all the rage these days – but the cost is prohibitive. I could join a tennis team but that would require an ongoing commitment and I am simply too tired on weeknights and our weekends are full with swimming, kids parties and other family stuff.
Finally, after much consideration I settled on Pilates. It’s supposedly great for posture, strength, fitness, flexibility, and it’s particularly important for women. It’s also low impact and I already have a mat (tick) and a fit ball. I attempted Pilates at home some time ago but quickly realised solo workouts are not for me. I am motivated by collective pain.
So, with great enthusiasm I attended a trial class last week. I was excited. This was going to be the beginning of something big. It should be noted that this class was described as a “mixed level” class. There are only two words that accurately describe my Pilates experience:
As the instructor issued incomprehensible instructions, everyone else in the class responded, except me. Each time she demonstrated a position, she would look my way and give me an “alternative” manoeuvre. The problem was that I couldn’t even manage the most basic of poses. My hour of hell went something like this:
“Tuck your tail bone under”, “Tighten your pelvic floor”, “Lift that tummy”, and “Straighten those hips.” And then, just to me:
“Do you have scoliosis”?
“Lengthen that spine”, “Tuck your chin” and “Scoop your abs”.
I inhaled when I was supposed to exhale; I dropped my hips when I was meant to lift them; and I fell to the floor when I was instructed to balance.
“Can you feel your rectus abdominis?”,” Work those oblique’s”, “Strengthen your transverse abdominis”.
As I tried to interpret her instructions I felt a complete and utter failure. It was embarrassing really. At the end of the session she suggested I attend the beginners class.
I came home with a strong resolve – never to attend another Pilates session. My flirtation with a fitness regime was short-lived and it will probably take me another year of deliberation to find a replacement.
Of course, I could get up early one or two mornings a week and go for a jog. It’s free, pleasant and a great cardio workout. But, who am I kidding? I’ve been toying with that idea for the greater part of my life.
I think I might hunt out that old skipping rope….
Do you manage to fit exercise into your busy schedule? Have you had an experience of epic failure or success? I’d love to hear from you, especially the epic failures so I don’t feel so bad 🙂