It’s totally true – you don’t know what you’ve got (or how good you had it) until it’s gone. For me nothing is more applicable to this than fitness. I was never fantastically fit. At school I was ok and just-about-passable level at a few things but sports were never my thing. My thing was art and sport was just something we had to do so I did it, often grudgingly.
But then you get to a point where no-one is making you do these things anymore and once that novelty wears off you actually start to miss it. Throughout most of my 20s I went through a cycle of not-being and re-being a gym member and actually quite enjoying it sometimes, although I enjoyed the drinking and food more and for me that was what exercising was about – earning the permission to eat and drink crap, even as I became more and more aware of just how unhealthy my habits were making me!
For me it was pregnancy, with sore hips and pelvis and a belly, that really led to a change in mind-set. I couldn’t do my gym workout any more and was restricted to walking (which hurt) and Pilates (which I fell in love with again). Every time I walked through the gym to get to the Pilates studio I felt a pang of jealousy! Just before I fell pregnant I ran my first non-stop 5k and when I reached the finish line I was pleased I’d managed it but was mainly just grateful it was finished. Now I’d love to be able to do that again but my biggest motivation isn’t easy to ignore – I don’t want to be the unfit mum at the school gates in a few years time and I want Tigger to see that doing exercise is fun so she has a healthier perception of it than I did.
So that means I need to find a way of fitting in getting fit AND making it fun, and luckily I’ve found that there are places Tigger and I can go that are far more interesting than just walking endless laps around the park. My local pushchair fitness group is wonderful. Running 3 times a week it’s fantastically flexible as the wonderful V who runs it, and who has two boys of her own, understands just how chaotic mum-life can get, and the variety of workouts is brilliant. But for me the best part is the banter with the other mums – I’ve had to stop exercising more than once as I couldn’t do it, giggle and keep the pelvic floor properly engaged. The level of mutual support I’ve got from them, and hopefully given to others, has been just what I needed and seeing and hearing their stories of dealing with their little treasures too is another perfect way of keeping that sense of isolation at bay.
I’m also a regular a a local Pilates studio which runs baby buddies classes, in fact me and some other mums I’ve met have our own session as we like it so much. Doing (modified) Pilates during pregnancy really helped my recovery and being able to continue it, again in a group setting, is just so much fun, especially watching the babies roll around the floor and doing their own thing with some of the equipment!
With two pushchair fitness sessions a week, 1 hour of post-natal pilates, at least one decent walk around the park AND starting to ‘train’ for an obstacle course 5k next month (I was caught by V at a moment of weakness!) each week my fitness levels are definitely returning gradually which is just how it should be. Let’s face it how many new mums have got time for it to be quick – there’s far too much else going on!
Fitting in getting fit is hard. But if it’s good fun it’s easy. I just wish I’d realised it earlier!