I am far from a jock. I am not a fitness guru either. I don’t do yoga and I have a deathly fear of group aerobics classes. But I try to stay in shape in the limited time that I have between school drop offs and pick ups, grocery shopping, dentist appointments and all of the rest of parental duties we all have.

We are members of the YMCA so I have access to the daycare for two hours a day. But I don’t always make it. And I love to exercise outside in the fresh air so that I can get both the kids and our crazy little dog burning off their excess energy at the same time. Kate’s first grade class had a play date yesterday so the kids and parents could get to know each other better. It was about a mile and a half away and I had so much to do that I knew if I was going to get the dog walked and get any exercise myself, it was going to involve having Kate ride her bike while Clover and jogged behind her.

One confession I must make is that I.Hate.Running. I hate it. I have bad memories of doing the Presidential Fitness Test and having to run the mile in grade school. I had exercise induced asthma as a child so I was the kid gasping and crying trying to finish. Now my idea of pleasant exercise involves running and walking on the treadmill while plugging my headphones in to watch some daytime TV (a treat for me since I don’t watch any TV during the day at home). I’d rather hike outside but hiking with the kids (and trying to get exercise myself) just doesn’t work. They are still young enough that we go very slowly and stop about every three feet because they need to look at a bug, pick up a pretty rock or whine about how tired their legs are

Having Kate ride her bike while the dog and I followed turned out to be a great solution. In fact, my slightly paranoid parental instinct kicked in as we rode past driveways, the public shopping center and constant traffic (and we were even on  the sidewalk!). Nothing makes you run like chasing after a child you are afraid might forget to stop before coming to an intersection! The agony of sprinting, trying to catch my breath and cramping muscles all go unnoticed while Mommy Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. It’s an amazing experience really. The fight or flight response to stress and danger allows ordinary people do extraordinary things when they need to and for me, sprinting that fast, for that long, is truly unnatural–but when I am chasing my baby, I don’t even feel it.

My view as the dog and I sprinted to keep up with Kate. This is staged of course! I was like "Pant, gasp. I need you to stop for a minute so I can get a picture for my blog. Wheeze!"

My view as the dog and I sprinted to keep up with Kate. This is staged of course! I was like “Pant, gasp. I need you to stop for a minute so I can get a picture for my blog. Wheeze!”

Often when I try to exercise at home–doing sit-ups, the plank or lifting my little weights, I find myself being treated like a piece of gym equipment…suddenly mom looks like something to jump on, climb up or balance on. I suppose it just adds to the workout when you are constantly dodging, lifting and carrying the extra weight of a toddler.

How do you incorporate your little helpers in your exercise routine?