Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Staying active with a toddler

Okay so the title is a bit of a misnomer - you never stand still when you have a toddler. And I am constantly running after him, but I'm struggling to find ways to stay fit and active myself.

I've never considered myself an athlete. Even when I was competing in figure skating. I pretty much skated as soon as I could walk. I have pictures of me in skates on ice when I'm sure I couldn't even say skates yet. I probably spent at least 5-10 hours in a rink a week. I took ballet to help my skating. I never went to camp, I was always attending summer 'skating' school. Never felt I missed out as all our friends were also skaters (except maybe at University when I realized how many drinking songs are learnt at camp). I skated for about 18 years. But I never thought of myself as an athlete.

My problem was what to replace that activity with once I quit. At University I never gave it a thought. It wasn't until I was in the work world that I realized I needed something. So I did what every other young person in their 20's does in TO - I joined a gym. Hated the gym, but went. Until I finally discovered salsa. It was a great way to exercise, learn something fun and socialize. When I moved out West in 99 other social dances replaced salsa, finally landing me in lindy hop (swing). In 2000 I added pilates to my life and didn't look back. I will admit to a short stint back at the gym, when I was travelling too much with work to dance regularly. But generally dance became my active outlet.

I met my husband swing dancing. And while we danced less after we got married it was still a big part of our lives. I've never been skinny, but I've always loved activity for exercise to keep my heart healthy and the stress release. And dancing let us be social at the same time. We'd travel to dance - weekends full of live bands, late night dancing, daytime sleeping. LOVE it. I've danced in New Orleans, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Victoria, Port Townsend, San Fran and of course Vancouver. I've even attended full week swing dance camps.

Even after I was pregnant I still danced and did my pilates. I was dancing 3 days before I went into labour. And I had to call while I was in labour to tell the pilates studio I wouldn't make my class that night.

Even in the year or so after the little guy was born I planned out time for me to get some exercise. I took up salsa babies. And once a week Dad was in charge so I could go to pilates. Then came swimming lessons instead of salsa babies. And in January I switched things up and tried Nia. It was a great blend of dance, yoga, marshal arts. I loved it.

Then my hubbie had his skiing accident. I couldn't leave him with the toddler alone for several weeks, and then I was trying to balance a bunch of networking, my volunteer work meetings and my hubbie's new schedule and next thing I knew I hadn't done any real exercise in 3 months.

NowI feel grumpy, pudgy and soft in the middle. I know a lot of moms run. But after 18 years of skating my tendons and knees aren't up to running. But I know I need to find a solution to this problem sooner than later. Because it isn't going to get any easier once I go back to work.

My little guy has gymnastics, karate, the park, etc. What about me? Thoughts? Suggestions? Offers of free babysitting so I can go dancing???

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