I’ve always said that when it comes to exercise, do what you’re willing to do.  It may not be perfect.  It may look different than when you were younger or at a different stage in life.  But doing something is always better than doing nothing. In the past few months, I have had to learn to apply that message to my own exercise routine.

I recently began one of life’s most special journeys when I became a mother to a healthy, beautiful baby girl.  As a first-time mom, nothing could have prepared me for the many changes and adaptations I’d have to make to my routine.

Before my daughter came into this world, I always thought I'd be one of those women toting their baby in the car seat into the gym.  I’ve done triathlons, I’ve run in plenty of races, and I’ve also been known to do two-a-day workouts – not because I was chasing a goal or searching for results, I just enjoy the way that exercise makes me feel.  So, you can imagine my surprise during maternity leave when my exercise routine didn’t pick back up the way I thought it would.

It’s one thing to preach an adaptable fitness message but it’s another thing entirely to apply it to yourself!

One month postpartum, I finally pulled out the stroller and went for my first walk.  At nine weeks postpartum, I hopped back on the spin bike.  Yet still to this day, I haven’t completed a workout anything like what I was doing before my daughter arrived. Mothers with older children may chuckle at my naivety after having experienced something similar, but I was left shocked.

If becoming a mother has taught me anything, it’s that it’s ok to change expectations.   As time goes on, routines change, priorities shift, and health goals need to be re-evaluated. 

My spin bike may now only see me a few times per month, but the local parks and the neighborhood streets now see me daily with a baby in tow.  I don’t work up the sweat I once did, but walking is my new workout of choice.

So, for now, it’s goodbye shouting spin instructor, hello shouting playground kids. Perhaps in a year or two you’ll see me racing in the Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot 5k, but until then, I walk and practice treating myself with grace.