Since becoming a mom, exercise for the sake of exercise has been relegated to the bottom of my sea of priorities. I had all sorts of ideas about how I would be staying fit while bonding with my little one:
After a lot of false starts, here’s how I finally got going:
FIND A MOTIVATION: I joined fellow Singapore Mom Bloggers (Angelia, Christy, Dee, Liz and Meiling) to sign up for the Great Eastern Women’s Run at year end. Running seemed to be the most accessible, effective and efficient form of cardio, indoors or outside, with limited to no equipment needed. The shortest race option of 5K seemed do-able as I’d covered this distance before … back then. Lastly, November seemed far enough away to not panic. Yet.
SCHEDULE IT IN: “We won’t find time to get fit unless we make the time for it!” I realised I needed a set exercise routine as “something else” would always get in the way every time. So one Sunday night, I searched for “5K training plans for
rusty out of shape beginners,” adapted them accordingly and came up with a simple, progressive plan which can hopefully be sustained beyond November. This also helped me get right down to actually exercise rather than figure out “what” and “how” to do beforehand.
STAY REALISTIC AND CONSISTENT: I’ve affectionately dubbed my weekly fitness efforts as the “Get in shape to survive a 5K race” plan. It currently looks like this, with target frequency and duration:
1) Interval training (3x/week for 30 mins): Beginning with more jogging than running, evolving into more running than jogging, and eventually fartleks i.e. steady run, jog, then stride (short burst sprints) intervals. For starters, run at an easy pace for 1 min, jog to catch your breath for 4 mins, repeat until you hit your target distance or time. The first time I tried this, I clocked in (cough) 2 km in 23 minutes at around 150-155 bpm. OK, I was distracted by the machine, fiddling with the cardio and interval options before deciding to just adjust the speed manually. But obviously, it’s been a long time since I did much cardio, let alone “training” runs 🙂 As the weeks go by and intervals get more intensive, strength and endurance, speed and aerobic metabolism should improve. I hope!
2) Strength training (2x/week for 45 mins): Doing weight bearing activities and/or attending a weekly reformer pilates class enables me to balance cardio for aerobic health and metabolism with strength training for muscle building and bone density.
3) Cross training (1x/week for 30-45 mins): I’ve read that if we’re training to run, we should include other cardio activities (like swimming, elliptical, bike, climbing) to break the monotony of running, exercise new muscles and prevent injury. Since those beginners plans listed this as optional, this pretty much only happens when I accompany my kid while he’s swimming or take the stairs instead of the lift 🙂
EXERCISE SMART: Some tips for novice runners:
1) EAT a meal or healthy snack with sufficient water 2 hours before. Drink 100 Plus (or sports drink) one hour after to hydrate. Get enough calcium (800-1000 ML per day) with magnesium, vitamins D and K for absorption. Avoid access salt, alcohol and tobacco.
2) SUN is good, but too much isn’t. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a visor or cap. It’s ironic how many folks are vitamin D deficient despite living in sunny Singapore so run in the early morning or late evening to catch some healthy rays if you can.
3) REST after your hardest workouts to reduce risk of injury. Rest at least 1 day prior to the race. Warm up and cool down by walking ~5 mins before and after each run. Don’t do major stretches before running, do it after or on non-running days.
Done reading this post? Time to get up, get out, get movin’!
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Next up is Toddly Mummy, a born-again drama-mama and creative extraordinaire, at least in EV’s and AA’s opinions. She has learnt that motherhood makes one discover talents one never expects one to have, all for the singular purpose of keeping the kids happy. A full-time-working mum, she spends evenings home learning and reading with her kids. On her blog, Toddly Mummy shares her thoughts on parenting, fun moments of home learning sessions and outdoor adventures.