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My New Exercise Partner

I haven't worked out all... since I got sick pregnant with Wanda over a year ago. I was too sick and then I was in too much pain and now I'm too tired. I'm always too something. I'm definitely too squishy right now.

Last week I decided that I could at least go out for a walk. It was not raining for once in the lovely Seattle metro area so I decided to head out with my Zune and my GPS route tracker and rack up some miles. As I headed out the door, Laylee asked where I was going and begged to come with me.

My first thought was to tell her, "No way." I like listening to music when I walk. I like walking fast, making the minutes count for something calorie-wise.

"I'm sorry honey. I want to walk really fast and I'm going to be gone a long time so I think I need to just go alone."

"That's okay," she said, "I can go really fast."

"If you decide you're too tired or you can't keep up, you'll just have to push through it and keep going because I'm doing serious exercise and I don't want to stop half-way through."

As I said this, I thought of all the times we've headed to the park and I can't remotely keep up with the kids.

Magoo chimed in, "I want to go too!"

I explained the rules to him as well but they were both insistent that they needed to go with me on the walk. So we put on our rain coats (by this time it had started to drizzle) and headed out full of energy. We weren't far from the house when the little drops turned into a torrential downpour and we were soaked to the skin. Our shoes were sloshing, our hair was wet and our pants hung flat against our legs.

The kids didn't complain about the weather. In fact, Magoo later said that the rain was the only good thing about the 40-minute walk. They took turns holding my hand and jumping in puddles and every once in a while they ran really far ahead and waited for me to catch up.

Laylee had a great time. I had a great time. Magoo said, "I don't ever want to walk again." Two out of three isn't bad.

Excited by our exercise, Laylee asked me if she could exercise with me every time I go. I told her that any morning I woke up to go walking and she was awake and ready, I would take her with me. So she's been getting up and we've been heading out and moving. Some days she does a lot of running and circling back and other times she just holds my hand and we chat. I find that I enjoy her company more than my outdated dance music playlist and she’s really excited about how her body feels when she gets moving first thing in the morning.

My workouts aren't quite as intense when I take her. I'm not as focused and I don't have that time to think and process and plan for my day. However, I think it's totally worth it to help her develop good healthy exercise habits at such a young age. I wonder if I'd started running in the mornings at age 7 what my health and body image would be like today. When she's old enough to be an ideal workout buddy, she may not want to exercise with me anymore if I've always told her no when she asked.

And so I have a very short exercise partner whom I love very much. She gets mad if she sees me stretching or moving through yoga poses without her. "I'm your exercise partner. What are you doing in there?" she’ll call out and then rush to join me. I think this may be one of the best things I've done as a parent. Now I've just got to keep it going.

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