We ended up going and having a great time. Here in Vancouver it is rare to have a sunny day this time of year, but we were blessed with one of those today. We spent two hours out there. We ran around the park only twice, but between those two laps we spent the rest of the time at a corner of the park that has wooden hurdles and metal trapeze bars and parallel bars, and a few other things for people to do strength, balancing and stretching exercises. We practiced push-ups and pull-ups and balancing on the beams. We also pet several dogs and had a great time. My workout probably ended up being more like interval training than I usually do at the gym, since I ran as much as I could while I pulled my daughter in the wagon, but when my legs couldn’t go anymore I slowed down to a fast walk. Eventually she would ask me to go faster again, so after I caught my breath I would jog again attempting to catch up to my other daughter. Overall I didn’t run for as long as I would have liked to, but I certainly got plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and quality time with my daughters. I also felt good about the positive modeling of a healthy lifestyle for my daughters.
So, while I would strongly encourage any mom of young children to get a gym membership with childcare, I also know that there are many ways to get exercise while we play with our children. I attempt to go to the gym three days a week, and on the other days, or on the same days I try to squeeze as much activity as I can into my day. For example, when I take my young son to the playground he usually insists on walking by-himself now that he’s almost two-years-old. The last time I took him, it was a similarly rare sunny day to today, and I pushed the empty stroller the whole way there. I only forced him to sit in it when we had to get back in a hurry in time for his lunch and nap. But on the way to the park he was having a grand old time walking and exploring. I, on the other hand was eager to move my legs and get my heart rate up. So much of the way I would run up ahead of him and then turn around and run back to him and make a circle around him. He did not understand what I was doing, but he did not mind much. When we crossed the big grassy field to get to the playground at the other end I ran all over that field making figure eights around my son and around the stroller, which I had run ahead towards the playground. This is just one example of how you can sneak extra steps into your day while you’re caring for your children.