If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation. -Dr. Robert Butler, founder of the National Institute on Aging
That single statement was the motivator that finally got me to the place where I was ready to work. Shortly after having Micah, I began thinking about how I would get my pre-pregnancy body back. I looked up postpartum exercise routines and laid out fitness goals for myself. However, my body wasn’t ready. After all, I had just had a baby. So, I waited. And waited. Then, I got comfortable waiting. Finally, I started making excuses for myself, and proudly stuffed my face with Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream while doing it.
Then, I began to notice that aside from not looking my best, the combination of overcompensation while lifting my little one, plus being on my feet practically all day as a SAHM (I never stood this long when I was working), was creating a recipe for disaster. I had back pain, I felt weak, and my mood was constantly fluctuating. I was often crabby, and I didn’t know why. My husband noticed it, Micah noticed it, and certainly, I noticed it. Reflecting on all this, I knew I hadn’t made the decision to stay home so I could be a grouch.
Then strangely enough, one evening, while my husband and I were watching a sermon of all things, the above quote was cited. As a doctor, I knew it was true. There’s no drug on the market that can foster the growth of new brain cells, improve memory, sharpen focus, boost your immune system, improve mood after just five minutes, help alleviate long-term depression, improve sleep, improve sex life, and of course decrease your risk for health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. And the list goes on. It’s truly a super drug!
I was already in a place mentally where I knew I needed to do something, and I think the above realization was the push I needed. Of course, saying I was ready to work out, and actually doing it, were two entirely different things. I’ve long been a serial exercise routine planner. I’ve always had a knack for making great plans as to how I’m going to get in shape. But usually, if I’m fortunate enough to actually start, my plans are short-lived. I’ve never worked out for longer than two months at a time. So, I knew if I wanted to actually maintain a healthy exercise routine, it would have to be centered around something I enjoy doing, and it would have to be particularly motivating. I began by looking into basketball leagues (I used to play a lot growing up), but women’s basketball leagues are few and far between. Other sports options were either too expensive to join or they just didn’t work out timing-wise for me.
So, I started taking classes at our local gym. I figured this would be a great option for two reasons: 1) There’s accountability. I always feel compelled to push myself harder because others are in the class as well. 2) Classes start at a certain time, so I have to be there. And I suppose as a bonus, I don’t have to think about the exercises I’m doing. I simply follow the leader.
Now, I’ve only started one week ago, BUT it’s made a world of difference! I’ve truly noticed a huge change in my mood, my energy level, my back pain, and my productivity. Coupled with going to bed around 10:30 every night (a new change we recently instituted), I literally feel like I’m on top of the world! It’s amazing what a little sleep and exercise can do. God has blessed our bodies with the ability to be AMAZING, we just have to take care of them.
Now, I’m obviously no workout guru now, but I just wanted to share what my experience has been like so far, and hopefully encourage someone else to get started. Amazing is right around the corner!