"Dark and drearies"
This week I had a telemedicine appointment for myself in which, at the end of the visit, the provider asked me about diet and exercise. I attempted to remain open to the common suggestions of 'eating more vegetables' and 'exercising more'...wait...did she say exercising? I'm usually on the asking end of these questions, so it was actually quite refreshing to hear an allopathic provider ask, despite my honest suboptimal answers. I responded with a slightly snarky and disheartened, "Does it count to keep up with 2 kids?". I felt slightly defeated as I faced the truth in my answers.
She did acknowledge several current challenges; the effects of a pandemic on group exercise, the efforts to make time for exercise when you have little ones begging for your every second, and the time of year - referred to by her as the 'dark and drearies'. If you're from the PNW, you might know what she was referring to. It's often cloudy, cold, wet, and rainy. While we do get occasional amazing sunny days, this time of year does bring out the hibernating bear mindset in many of us. Not that you can't overcome the elements with some really good rain gear, it just takes some extra sustained hutzpah. I realized my response was...well, an excuse if I'm being perfectly honest. At the beginning of the pandemic, a past ballet teacher of mine offered live virtual classes. It was amazing! Once a week I would roll up the rug in my kids' room, slip on my ballet shoes, hold on to the crib rail and take a ballet barre. It re-ignited my commitment to self-care during the beginning of a particularly challenging time for us all. At that point, it had been about 5 years since I had set foot in a studio. While it was a serious struggle physically after having 2 children, it felt wonderful mentally. I had forgotten what it felt like to move my body and mind in this way. It has now been almost 2 years since this photo was taken.
This past week, when my health care provider stated her very well meaning and evidence- based recommendation to exercise more...like actually exercise...where you're sweating and your heart rate is up for a sustained period, I realized I needed to get creative. My excuse wasn't a good one. I grabbed the kids, set the timer for 20 minutes, and we got moving. We did jumping jacks, licorice jumps (my daughter's suggestion...imagine your body like a licorice stick, and jump across the room), running in place, and obstacle courses where we had to leap over cars, dodge stuffies, duck under flying balls and tag the windowsill as we ran from one room to the next. By the end, we were sweating...GOAL! I'm not sure the kids loved it, but it achieved it's purpose. We did it together and we do have some ideas for how to improve next time.
The point is...exercise is important. Sometimes, you have to get extra creative. It doesn't have to be an in-person class or an expensive on-line membership to get your heart pumping. Have a dance party! Shake off the dark and drearies and get moving...however you gotta do it.
P.S. By the way, licorice jumps are a great way to get your heart rate up when you do them from one end of the house to the other!