I wrote this a few days ago when winter seemed to never end. Today I learned that a friend from childhood passed away, she used to babysit me and my siblings. A little blog post on working out seems so trivial in the light of grief but I know that for us, life does go on. We do those things that are needed and make life beautiful. And I will be snuggling my little ones a little closer and not be so quick to complain when they climb all over me when I’m trying to work out.
It hits everyone, I think, around this time of the year. The novelty of winter has begun to wear off, summer seems like a far off dream, and the winter outerwear ceases to be cosy and it just all seems clunky. There’s the hope of spring and the knowledge that is still weeks or months away. There’s the dreaming of long walks and fresh air and green grass and the reality of cold and snow.
I love living in a four season climate. I really do. But towards the end of February and the beginning of March, I get antsy. I’m ready for spring and a new wardrobe and growing things. Some weeks we don’t go outside for days. Days. It’s too cold or windy or snowy. Or I just don’t feel like tackling the process of bundling my littles up for a 15 minute outside playtime. When those sort of weeks happen, we all get a little cranky. And I try to stick to my workout plan even though I just want to bury myself in bed with hot tea and a very long book.
It’s not easy to work out at home. Add in any number of little people and it’s a challenge before you’ve done any squats. Here’s how I keep myself moving.
I get dressed in workout clothes, pull my hair back and put the music on. I have a playlist that’s as long as my workout. I know I feel so much better after releasing all those endorphins and so I make it happen.
My routine is short. It’s 20 minutes long and I move it. But if I need to stop and kiss an owie all better or stop the girls from changing the volume yet again, I do. A ten-second plank is still a plank. I’m not trying to lose a certain number of inches, I’m trying to take good care of the body I’ve been given. The girls have a dance party while I’m working out or they get in their work out clothes and squat along with them. Or they climb all over me while I’m doing a bridge. I cuddle them or gently remind them that I’m working out and I’ll deal with whatever the issue is when I’m done. And I do. I don’t work out every day because I know I wouldn’t be able to keep it up.
I’ve used DVDs and a variety of routines. It’s what works for me and my kidlets. I love Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred for some serious workout and Erin O’Brien’s Post-Natal Rescue was tremendous after I had my baby. Currently I do a combination of yoga stretches and a routine focusing on strength building. I want to add in a hip-hop dance routine just to up my aerobics and learn how to really move it. Plus it makes my girls laugh and that is always worth it.
I love working out with my girls so that they can see the importance of taking care of yourself. It’s fun doing squats with my 18 month old, it reminds me of why I do it. The point isn’t to fit into my jeans although that helps and I have cited that as motivation before. The point is take the care of the body I’ve been given and to enjoy the life I’ve been given with the ones I share it with. I want to be able to run all over the playground and trail system with my little girls, I want to be able to swing them up in the air and hear them giggle.
Spring will come, the grass will be green and there will be bikes to ride and walks to take and sun to soak up. In the meantime, I can keep active at home, in my sweats with the people I love the most.
How do you stay sane and happy during the winter? Do you work out?