Last year, right before Christmas, I was walking back from the gym one morning and got hit behind by a Toyota Prius. I was in a marked crosswalk and never knew she was behind me until I was sailing up onto her windshield.
Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is a club no one wants join and my life, and my family could have been changed in an instant. I had a concussion and my back and neck was in awful shape. I had a vertebrae out in my lower back, I could barely turn my neck, I had a sprained wrist when I landed on the asphalt and I had a nice road rash across my derriere to go along the bumps and bruises everywhere else. Most of last year's Christmas holiday was spent in various doctor appointments and frankly, in a lot of pain and discomfort. Not fun, but I'm still grateful because it could have been far worse. A year later, I still have a bald spot where I hit her windshield with my head to remind me how lucky I am that I'm still walking and talking though it takes me a few extra minutes to style my hair so it doesn't show.
When we found out I was pregnant, we were in disbelief, ecstatic and nervous all at the same time. Disbelief that I was actually pregnant (I can't tell you how many negative pregnancy tests I've taken), ecstatic because I was actually pregnant(!) and nervous because, well. I was ACTUALLY pregnant!! I knew that the added weight of a much-wanted pregnancy (normal is 25-30lbs) would be added strain on my already arthritic knees and injured back and neck. This past year, between my accident and my pregnancy, exercise has been drastically pared down. I couldn't do my normal workouts, but I could still walk.
For me, exercise is an important activity that makes me feel like I'm taking care of myself - mentally and physically. Mentally because, for that period where I'm working out, no one is asking me for anything. No little voices asking for a snack, or an episode of Strawberry Shortcake. No masculine voices asking me to drop off some slacks for dry cleaning, no dirty dishes giving me silent requests to be washed and put away. I was consistent about my exercise time because it was MY TIME. Yes, sure, some days, I'd rather sleep in than to get up and out. But just like everyone says (because it's true), the endorphins I got during and after exercise was always worth it. I was back home by 7:30am and I felt already productive! And it made me less stressed which meant I was a more patient and giving mother and wife.
The physical benefits of exercise are important to me from a functional standpoint. I want to be strong enough to lift my nearly 40lb daughter up on the monkey bars or haul a bag of potting soil (I like Black Gold's brand!) in the spring so I can welcome new plants (Tulips!) in my empty patio pots. Physical strength to me is empowering. It gives me endurance and stamina and it challenges my body and mind. Exercise is much more about function and stress relief for me than it is about squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans. Though, liking how you look and feeling confident is a nice perk too! We are women, after all. Let's be honest. :)
As my own personal motivation, I fondly remember running in Malibu's 2011 Spartan 5K race with my good friends Paul and Lynsey Greive from Primal Pastures Ranch. I want to get back to that level of fitness and ability again. I want to be able to run again and now that Emily is turning 5, she's old enough to start entering some kid fun runs if she wants to.
I'm happy to share that I got my 6wk clearance from my OB and I'm looking forward to getting back into a regular exercise routine. Nothing crazy just yet. I need to ease back in. Next up: Walking, Yoga and Pilates that will help me strengthen my core muscles again which will, in turn, help support my healing back!
May exercise and strength reach you all this week. And beware of the stealthy Prius. They're so quiet you can't hear them coming...!
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