Have you ever passed by those NFL Play60 billboards or watched their commercials encouraging kids to be more active? “What kid plays actively for less than an hour a day?” I always thought. For most of my life, it wasn’t hard to get daily physical exercise. I was involved in sports from an early age and was part of an active family and extended family. I struggled a bit with image and weight gain during the teen years, but if I just ran a little extra, it could be reversed. I never looked at the future and thought my health would change from lack of activity; I always imagined I’d somehow keep active.
Once I began having babies, the sitting began.
Do you ever stop to think about how much you sit during the day? As moms, we are always exhausted, and yet if you track how many minutes or hours you spent sitting, it would be surprising. I often wonder how it can wear me out so easily! As much of a struggle it is to carry a growing baby with all the extra gear, I could go a week or two and realize I had never truly exerted my body.
I started hearing about the dangers of inactivity somewhere around my second or third baby, which is when I started to feel the effects my full-time job was having on my health. The endurance and muscles that had been there for years were gone. I was huffing and puffing up the steps and carrying kids to and from the car wore me out. My mental health was deteriorating in small ways as well. I felt I was doing worse in my role at home and my sleep was more interrupted and sporadic than normal.
I began to realize that sitting was killing me.
On the website Start Standing, Ryan Fiorenzi has compiled research about sedentary lifestyles and their effect on the human body. Among his sources is Dr. James Levine, who first coined the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” Dr. Levine also stated: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death…The chair is out to kill us.”
If these statements are true, moms are in big danger. I don’t think anyone would call us “lazy,” but so much of what moms (especially moms of kids under a year of age) do involves sitting, with little energy or time left to get aerobic movement in during the day.
My husband and I realized during this time that everything about my life seemed to improve when I was moving intentionally and consistently. I was able to sleep better, I was motivated to eat cleaner, I had more energy to go outside, do things with my kids or work in the yard, and I had a clearer head as well. We can blame genetics or health reasons for how we look or how much we weigh, but how we feel and our quality of health can be reversed and aided by a simple decision: I am going to move more.
Gold’s Gym is committed to helping people to act on this decision.
Known for many years for the beefy members who could pump iron all day and compete in competitions, Gold’s Gym has become a place for the regular person committed to moving more to find a way to pursue health. With personal trainers, tracking body analysis, boot camp, classes all days of the week, and long hours for those who need non-traditional gym hours, you have so many options to help in your fitness journey.
When I met with Lauren, a personal trainer and health coach at Gold’s Gym on Lee Hwy, we talked about health and fitness goals. “What goals do you want to have?” she questioned me. I thought for a while, stumbled around for a few minutes and finally ended with, “I want to feel better!” She laughed with me and then we worked together through what that might look like for me. The 3-D body scanner provided an honest visual of how my body was comprised and gave us both a better idea of what my goal of “feeling better” could be. I could have set myself up for failure by setting an unachievable goal for this stage of my life, so I was thankful Lauren understood my life and time constraints, and work to create a plan that would help me.
I am thrilled to be moving again this year.
As our family transitioned into homeschooling in 2018, I felt trapped in the chair just like I did with a newborn. After a year of putting movement on the back burner, I realized how much it (again) had affected my body, mind and spirit, and why exercising consistently needed to be a higher priority in my daily life. I can’t promise incredible results and transformational pictures — though that would be a nice benefit — but by tracking and transitioning back into exercising, I can have a positive impact on my health, and my family’s well being.