I've talked about Exercise is Medicine on Speedbump in the past here (and a series of exercise posts can be found here). It is something I am increasingly passionate about, both personally and professionally.
I've always been an exerciser - whether through sports, running or yoga. I like to exercise. Exercise makes me feel good about myself. My body feels 'right' when I'm exercising regularly. I don't relate well to those that don't like to exercise, that hate to exercise. I know those people exist and I try to remember that when sending out messages about exercise. But I don't get it.
My problem is not that I don't want to exercise, it is that I find it harder and harder to find the time.
And I think that is the case for most people. Even those that hate to exercise know they should do it, and time is also a hindrance for them (a double whammy - to hate something and not have the time for it - no wonder so many people don't exercise!).
Before I had kids, my life was busy and I had responsibilities. But I could fit in exercise whenever I wanted. I made it a priority and it happened. First thing in the morning is always the safest bet and I've been getting up in the dark to exercise since college crew. Before kids, my biggest concern most days was what type of exercise I should do and for how long.
It isn't as simple as making exercise a priority anymore. When I've been away from the kids for 9 hours, fitting in a 30 minute run loses its importance. Even when I plan to run in the early morning I might be stymied by a sick kid, or a kid already in my bed that wakes up and cries the minute I pull back the covers. As much as running does for my attitude, psyche and health, pounding the pavement on a cold, dark morning just can't compete with sweet snuggles from a sleepy toddler. I am human. And becoming a mom has rewired my brain in
too many ways. The brain-exercise connection that once had me completing detailed training plans and running 60 miles a week is not as strong and compelling as it once. Snuggles trump goals some days.
But yet I know Exercise is Medicine. I want to be healthy. I want to be strong and fit. I want my snuggly toddler (and her not so snuggly, but equally sweet older brother) to see me run and to know why I run. It is a priority that I want to pass on (like my parents did for me) and so I have to figure out how to make it happen in my life in a way that keeps me healthy, and at the same time - not guilty for the time it takes away from my kids. There has to be a happy medium. I am going to find it. (The first thing I need to do is fix the broken wheel on my double jogger! No more excuses)
At work, I am advising a student Exercise is Medicine group and they are helping me find the inspiration at home. They are future doctors, nurses, physical therapists and researchers. They are going to help all of us make exercise a priority, and someday convince the medical community that exercise is the best preventative medicine available.
This video does a good job of spelling out the benefits of exercise on our health, and also gives good examples of just how much we need - not much, just 30 minutes a day. Can you find the time? I'm going to keep trying.