Monday, August 19, 2013

Balancing Family and Fitness

Balancing family and fitness:  The ever-present struggle for myself and my family.  I am a single mom with an 11 year old daughter and a 9 year old son.  

Like so many others we struggle with diet, exercise and keeping up with all of the day to day responsibilities that this life has to offer; work, school, homework dinner, showers…  keeping your home from becoming a really bad
episode of “World’s Messiest Home.”  Throw into that mix trying to teach them, by example, to stay active and live healthy.  

It can be very difficult and while it is a struggle, I have come to know it’s a struggle well worth it in the end.  You may also come to find that it becomes a release that allows you to let go of the stresses that plague so many of us and helps to make everyone in the family happier and closer together.

In the beginning of this journey I have only started, it was just trying to get out for a little bit after dinner, before it got dark.  The kids would strap on skates, getting pulled along by the dog and I would run with them.  Little by little we worked on going further and further.  I noticed the kids becoming happier, less restless and grumpy.  They grew to really love this part of the day.  Not only was it exercise which is good for us all but it was a bit of family time with just the three of us away from TV’s, computers and electronic games.  

As time went by and I saw progress I didn’t expect within myself I wanted to keep going further.  I heard about and signed up for a beginner half marathon program through OnTrack Fitness.  Scary?  Yes!  I was terrified.  

I went into this never expecting that I would ever actually run it but I thought that in the least this program would keep me motivated and hold me accountable to keep exercising.  I was also excited that we met in local parks and the kids were able to come alone and skate with me as I trained.  We started little by little a couple nights a week but we stuck with it and kept going.  The group setting and learning everyone else’s struggles and successes really helped to keep me from giving up when the going got tough.

In the end, I did run and finish the half marathon.  The program was amazing and it worked exactly as they said it would.  My confidence was soaring.  The kids along the way met some amazing people and saw that through hard work and struggle you can accomplish amazing things that you never believed you are capable of.  

This is a huge gift in itself.  Since then I have gone on to run more races and complete my first triathlon.  The kids participated in the Junior Joggers program put on by OnTrack Fitness as well.  Recently, both of my children ran along with me and completed their first 5k.  They are super excited about running and can’t wait to participate in the next race that comes to town. 

All in all, sometimes it’s harder than others to balance everything going on but I make my best effort to fit this in even if I have to give up something that I may want to do more.  It’s a gift you can give to your whole family that will last a lifetime. 

Written by Beth Anne Davis, OnTrack Fitness personal trainer in Yuma AZ