18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Time and Exercise (and a baby)

I've always challenged my patients who tell me they don't have time to exercise.  After all, there's always time somewhere.  Carve out your lunch hour.  Wake up early.  Stop at the gym on the way home from work.

Having my daughter Ava, which is rewarding and fun beyond what I could even express, has definitely challenged my own ability to get to the gym.

Ava, tummy time champion

Many years ago, workouts would happen in the evenings.  Then, once in my interventional cardiology fellowship, I realized that the days could go very long, and that if I wanted to know that I'd get in that workout, it had to happen early in the morning, before work.  And, that's a habit I continued for more than another decade -- I'd run, spin, bike, swim, go to Barry's, or whatever workout for the day, in the morning.  While there was an occasional evening workout (well, more frequent than "occasional" when I was in triathlon training), morning was the time I knew was mine.

Now with a baby, who is nearly six months old, it's harder to work out.  I remember coming home after my four week check-up with my OB, once "cleared" to exercise.  I asked Ray to watch Ava while I went to boot camp from 7-8 pm.  That didn't work out so well as I came home to a crying baby who wanted to breastfeed.

The first few months were tough, because even though I physically could work out, Ava needed to nurse.  I would need a block of time when she wasn't nursing, I wasn't working, and time was left to shower.  As a result, not much exercising happened until about three months post partum.

I'm still challenged to find time, even as she approaches six months of age.  In the mornings, I am waking up with Ava and feeding her.  Sometimes I can get in a morning workout, but only if I know I have a later start to my work day.  And in the evening, I am watching Ava until my partner gets home and often that's close to 7 pm.

I've gone to some creative lengths to exercise lately.  One evening, I set Ava in her music bouncer (see below) and went through a ten minute workout on an app on my phone.  I did squats, pushups, and other exercises while Ava entertained herself in the bouncer and squealing at our dogs (she's fascinated with dogs, but that's a story for another time).

Musical bouncer, with a view of the dogs

 On a busy Saturday morning, I walked with Ava, in her stroller, to the market, loaded the stroller up with heavy groceries, and rather than walking home, I power walked with the weighted down stroller, up and down the hills in my neighborhood for the next forty-five minutes, while Ava napped.

I have a membership at LA Fitness now, which includes child care.  About three weeks ago, I dropped Ava off at the gym child care.  About 40 minutes into working out, I was paged overhead to my crying daughter who was not enjoying her time with strangers.

So, I would definitely have to say, I have a new appreciation for finding time to exercise.  I'm still trying to figure it out.