The Magic of Being Out in Nature as a Parent

Training Tips

This post was sponsored by adidas, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I never used to be able to understand why people would blame kids for their inability to exercise.

I have always (harshly) been of the mindset, “if there is a will, there is a way”, and I do still believe if something is important to you, you WILL find a way to get it done. That being said, we can only really have two to three things that are priorities. If exercise is one of them for you, that is great! If it is not, that is great too!

If squeezing in exercise means giving up some sleep, bribing a friend with a cooked dinner to look after your child, or taking some running clothes and shoes to the office to run home from work, you can make it work.

However, I can now see that as a parent, you do need to be flexible. If your child falls sick during the day, it is too late to get up earlier, you cannot really leave them with a friend, and you may need to come home from work early. Most of the ways you could squeeze it in go out the window, and you have to be okay with a missed day here or there…as long as you don’t make it a habit where you use any little excuse to take another rest day.

Often Bailey and I head out early in the mornings to get our run in. Her in the stroller and me pushing her along. I like to think of it as our run, even though only one of us is doing the running. I like to think on some level she is picking up on the importance of exercise, the importance of getting out into nature and just breathing the fresh air.

By the way, how cuuuuttteee are these Adidas How We Do Tights? I absolutely LOVE the color, and have to admit, I don’t just run in them, I LIVE in them. Especially during this changing time of year.

My parents recently told me that I loved being outdoors as a child; playing in other people’s yards, going on slides, completing obstacle courses, jumping in leaves. Anything and everything that just had me out in nature.

I don’t think I was anything different to any other kid.

In the 80s/90s most kids loved to play outside, but a lot of that culture has now changed; video games and iPads have taken their place.

Steve and I are determined to keep her screen time to a minimum, and instead, show her ways to have fun outside and with other people. I really hope Bailey loves to be outdoors, not even necessarily as a runner, but just to get herself out of controlled temperatures and environments to see the beauty mother nature has to offer us.

The stroller runs Bailey and I have are part of that right now.

Sometimes she naps, sometimes she looks around in wonder, sometimes she plays with a toy, and sometimes she watches the rain run down the cover.

Often it is raining, not ideal, and I am not gonna lie, I spend most of the run worrying that she is getting wet inside…although a good thing because that makes the run go by quicker! I make sure to wear light,¬†highly breathable moisture-wicking clothes, like this Adidas Supernova Tank top to keep me cool if it is humid and not weigh me down if it starts raining. We are still in the 70s most mornings, and I haaatttee feeling hot, so this is the perfect choice.

I also believe that I am teaching her that the weather should not be an excuse not to get out there in nature and do something (obviously, within reason!). Other than extreme weather, thunderstorms, or icy roads, we can always find a way to dress for the occasion.

Actually, the most difficult part of going on our morning runs is the time right before we go. At this age, Bailey is starting to get a bit clingy, separation anxiety is starting, and with her on the edge of crawling, I can’t really leave her on her own for very long.

I have to quickly throw on my clothes while she is distracted with a toy, brush my teeth (and let her hold the electric toothbrush while I do!) and get my shoes on. I have to be honest, my dynamic warm ups fall by the wayside most mornings I am running with the stroller, as I have a small window to get out before she starts whining.

A lot of running with a baby comes down to timing. Timing it so she is in a good mood for me to do the prep stuff before I go without her getting upset, and timing it so I can get out there while she takes her first nap of the day. If I do this, after the run she is in a wonderful mood, and we can have fun playing. I leave her in her pajamas most mornings, as it keeps her warm, and means there is one less thing that could upset her before we go.

Now, I understand not everyone has a trail for safe stroller running within a mile of their house, nor does everyone have a running stroller like my Chicco TRE Jogging stroller, and especially, when you are in those first 6 months, you are not supposed to run with your baby at all (you should be listening to my pregnancy and postpartum podcast series though!), but it doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to take your child out into the fresh air.

A walk with a regular stroller (I have the Chicco Mini Bravo ) is a wonderful way to connect with your baby. You can talk to them while you walk, point out things they may see, and you too, might notice things that you haven’t before. Choose to meet some friends at a park rather than a coffee shop or for lunch. I would recommend earlier in the day during the summer to limit sun exposure and the baby getting overheated, and around midday for winter walks to make it as warm as possible.

You can also join a gym, like I have with the YMCA, and put your child in Child Watch or the daycare at the facility. Yes, that might mean a treadmill run, not out in nature, but if exercise is the priority, you can find a way.

If it is one of those non-stop rain days, you can still head out to a shopping mall, or even just a store like Target to walk around and get out of the house. If there is a break in the rain, you can walk between the stores if you have an outdoor shopping area, Bailey loves to do this, and it feels good to breathe in the fresh air.

Having a child might mean your workout schedule changes completely, maybe it does mean missed days, and often, the weather will not cooperate to give you an ideal situation to get what you want in. But you can figure something out, even if it is three runs of ten minutes each. If you are at home with your baby, one of the benefits is that we can mostly pick and choose the times we get to go out there (although we all know our babies really have the final say!). Look for a small window, something to just give yourself a few moments of peace while they look around at the leaves blowing in the wind. Bailey LOVES to look at the trees and watch cars passing, and will mostly stay quiet.

If you have a baby who is starting to fuss at home, no matter how many toys you give them or how much you feed them, head outside. We are hard-wired to appreciate being outside in the world, even just feeling the ground on your feet can help a lot. Both you and baby may feel better, and if you can squeeze in a little exercise, you both will feel better. You will be a better parent to your baby, and they will be stimulated from the sensations outside, so nice and happy too.

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