Shake your Bummy

In recent weeks, two things have come to my attention, this article by Mary Beth Williams, The real key to good health and the viral hit created by Dr. Mike Evans,  23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? Both coincided with when I was turning my attention to new years resolutions and reflecting on the year that was. Thanks to both,  a reckoning came to be.  Mary Beth Williams' candid advice was to get your heart stronger because you never know when you are going to need it.  She herself has been receiving treatment for lung cancer. Dr Mike Evans' way of putting the exact same thing? "Try to limit your sitting time to 23 1/2 hours a day".  

In my day job, I sit a lot. I occasionally rise to retrieve something from the photocopier or to make a coffee, but an awful lot of the time, I'm on my bum.  This is in steep contrast to my night job. At the end of the work day, occasionally in the middle, I have to burst out of the door half running to pick up kids, and be in perpetual motion for hours on end until we all, finally, fall into bed.  Many nights it does not end, running errands, attending to kids who can't sleep, you know the drill.  On top of that, there is also a lurking feeling that if one thing goes wrong the whole thing will fall apart.  Neither job provides much time for activity that raises my heart rate in a therapeutic way.  

Now that I've gotten my lame excuses out in the open, I need to come to terms with the fact that I need a stronger heart.  I also need to change how I have approached moving my body in the past.

I've approached activity in spurts, or sprints:

Aged 16 biking everywhere
Aged 19 3 months of swimming
Aged 25 3 months at the gym
Aged 33 running after a toddler/breastfeeding

Sure I exercised here and there in between those times, but during those particular periods, I could feel my body purring and my lungs expand. I was driven to do more and more. My body changed and I basically rocked it. Then you know, I retreated.

Of late, I went from "power walking" with the stroller to poking along, half-walking, half-dragging my youngest child.  My love of swimming for the most part is shared by my kids, but the time spent "swimming" involves a lot of standing in lukewarm water. But really, who am I kidding?  As I dash between work commitments and being there for my kids, it occurs to me that I've prepared for this period of my life inadequately. I have greatly benefited from prenatal, and other parenting courses and books, and yes, I certainly have benefited from all that education that has shaped my thinking and strengthened my critical thinking skills.  My support network strengthens me in many ways, helping me to parent and do my job well.  Despite all these advantages, what I have consistently lacked during this aforementioned parenting and career preparation, and need to make up for quick, is an approach that puts value on and trains for endurance.  

I increasingly realize that in order to do keep doing all this, I need to quit my love affair with sprinting, I need staying power.  My experience with physical education in school was limited to be sure and I often thought of physical education as something only for gifted athletes.  I do not need to be an awesome athlete. I just need to do what I'm doing and feel better doing it, knowing that I'm not damaging my precious heart. Now, I am slowly realizing, that exercise is not only for everyone but it is imperative,  because at some point we're all going to need endurance.  In the end, Mary Beth Williams' frank appraisal put me in the right head space.

"It’s about taking the stairs. It’s about being able to play with your kids. It’s about those sweet, sweet endorphins. And it’s about knowing that though we’re all different, we’re all capable of greater wellness."

Her first piece of practical advice was to get sneakers.  I trekked (okay, drove) to Salvation Army and forked over $4.99 for these sneakers.  Now, I need to get a move on.  I'm not going to run, I am just going to walk.  I am going to walk until I can walk faster.


  1. That is a great post Erin...been trying to shake my booty a lot more these days!

  2. Thanks Emilie! We should shake our booties together sometime!

  3. Shake, shake, shake! You're not alone!

  4. Me too! I watched that 23 1/2 video and ever since, I'm aware of the many days when I don't get even a half-hour of exercise. And I bought sneakers last year.
    Lisa R.

  5. I agree. It is so difficult to find find the time to make ourselves as most of our attention falls to others. Striving for an active lifestyle is a goal for me as well. Good luck!!!


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