I don't read a lot of fitness and outdoor activity blogs regularly, but I do follow a couple. One of my favorites is Mama Sweat by Kara Douglass Thom, who writes about living an active life "in the chaos of motherhood." She has four children, including a pair of twins; she lives in my area, which is handy for me since when the streets here are buried in snow, she is writing about snowshoeing instead of about outdoor bicycling. She is also the author of Hot Sweaty Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom, a book I am happy to recommend (nifty trivia: she quoted my blog in it!)
I have always liked Mama Sweat since a friend sent me to it a few years ago, because even though Kara is the type of active person who describes herself as addicted to exercise, and used to run endurance events, her attitude is positive and encouraging, not shaming. You don't have to be a marathon runner. You don't have to work out every day. If you have a bunch of kids, it can take creativity, effort, and sacrifice to find a way to make movement part of your life; but it's worth it to take care of yourself physically and sets a good example for those same kids (especially daughters).
I read her blog for ideas and inspiration, especially in the area of including kids in activity, something I don't do as much as I ought to. She has some really cute articles about her kids running 5ks and doing yoga with her. (But then, I guess one way I motivate myself to move is by using exercise to give me some of the "alone in a crowd time" that I naturally crave. I suppose that is part of my personal style as a Fit Enough Mom, and maybe I shouldn't second-guess it too much since it works pretty well.)
Some time ago Kara had to shake up her routine due to musculoskeletal pain, and had to cut back on the running and the really intense workouts in favor of a regimen of alignment exercises. This post on what she learned from her "exercise detox" is a great summary, and I think I am going to bookmark it as well as the links she recommends from Katy Says "Alignment Matters!"
I came away with a bigger appreciation for movement and the distinction between movement and exercise, health and fitness. Movement... is the meal. The work necessary to keep muscles at an optimal length and joints mobile are the vitamins. Exercise is the dessert...
if you had told me 15 years ago I would be swapping 15-mile runs and 80-mile bike rides for walking, Pilates, yoga and alignment videos I would not have believed it (nor would I believed it if you had told me then I'd someday be the mother of four). One thing Katy says... is: "Exercise does not need to be hard or vigorous, it just needs to be different." I'm one of those people who likes being sore, which might be one reason I gravitated toward the hard and vigorous. But now I've discovered that moving muscles in ways they are unaccustomed--even stretching--is a challenge...
I like what I'm doing for now. I spent more than 20 years putting my body through incredibly tough challenges. I can say with satisfaction that I pushed my body beyond what I ever thought it was capable. Those experiences were incredible and I am amazed at what my body has accomplished. When you go to those extremes you start believing that "hard" is what you have to do in order to be satisfied. I don't believe that anymore. My body doesn't need hard to be and stay healthy, it just needs different movement to adapt and activity to maintain cell-turnover.
It should make good reading for my postpartum recovery period, while I am itching to get back up and moving again.
As a matter of fact, this might be a good time to create a new category of fitness and outdoor blogs (especially of the "fit it into your real life" subgenre) in my feed reader. I never really have done that, but it probably would make fine reading to keep myself thinking about how to make sure movement stays in my weekly priorities, even as we shift things around to make our new life with five kids.