How I Came to Love Exercise

by Marcie
mom and daughter go on a bike ride together

Childhood

I grew up watching my mom exercise every day. When I was really little she did the “Hooked on Aerobics” workouts on pbs and loved it when I joined her. She always treated me like I was so good at it and seemed truly happy to have me next to her even if I was always bumping into her. I also remember her frequently riding her exercise bike and when she wasn’t using it I tried to ride it too. When I was a teen she got a treadmill and walked on that while watching tv every afternoon. We lived out in the woods where walks weren’t too feasible but she did walk in town after work sometimes. If you’re part of her family you’re inclined to receive a pedometer from her for your birthday.

I’m so grateful to have grown up in an exercise loving family. I had to walk ½ mile down the dirt road to the bus stop and back every day and didn’t enjoy it until I got older and interested in exercise myself. In my late teens I started going for walks up and down our road for fun (gasp!) I also started riding my mom’s old exercise bike every morning before school even after it got moved to the attic space above the garage where it was hot and dusty. From then on I was converted to daily exercise.

In College

All through college I hung out in the exercise room on campus. I would ride an exercise bike and read a chapter in my textbook. Then I’d sit against the wall in the straddle splits (well, not quite, but I tried :)) and highlight things or take notes. Some days when I didn’t have anywhere else to be I’d take my refried bean dinner I’d packed in a container, warm it up in the microwave down the hall, eat it in the locker room, then return to the exercise room and ride the bike again while reading a chapter in another text book. The exercise room became my “home away from home.” I knew if I studied in the library I’d just fall asleep. Reading a boring textbook on an exercise bike ensured I stayed awake.

First Time Mom

After Nathan and I graduated from college and moved to Dallas where Nathan was starting medical school, I went garage saleing and found an exercise bike for $15. I went to look at it and knew I had to have it. It was old school just like my mom’s, where it had a front tire that actually spun, and a chain and all. I only brought $10 with me which the guy wasn’t too happy about, but finally gave me the bike in exchange for. The problem was getting it into my tiny 1992 Geo Metro with my newborn in her carseat in the back seat. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Somehow I managed it, took it to our new apartment, and got it and my baby up to our 3rd floor unit. I was so happy! I now had a way to exercise while my baby napped. Walks were really fun, but with the heat and humidity and a sketchy part of town, I preferred riding my bike and reading a book. 

Subsequent Babies

The rest is history. I’ve always owned an exercise bike and ridden it nearly every day. I love that I can ride it when I’m pregnant, even up to the day I deliver. And when I come home from the hospital 24 hours later, I get right back on it. The bike is in my bedroom so I can hop on after feeding and dressing the baby while she’s just laying in the middle of my bed happy. It’s not a big ordeal like taking her on a walk or going to the gym would be. I may just ride for 10 minutes and read a book or even stare at her in wonder. Usually a child comes in and talks to me and that’s ok too. At least I got some exercise in while talking and got some endorphins running.

I’ve also always loved going walking. It’s a lot of work getting babies and children ready to go for a walk but I have such fond memories of doing so. When I had 3 little kids I would stuff them all into the double stroller and take them to the park. Later we began the tradition of starting every homeschool day with a walk/bike ride around our neighborhood. When my kids got into their teens I started leaving them with the younger kids and walking by myself. For two whole years (2019 and 2020) I did not miss a single day of going for a walk, even on vacation.

Today

I hope if you don’t love to exercise you’ll soon start to. It makes me feel so good. Now that I don’t have nursing babies, as soon as I wake up, I hop on my exercise bike in my room. I can’t start my day without exercising. And I exercise throughout the day too. It keeps my energy up and makes me feel good. See my post about it here!

It’s funny that I didn’t like walking home from the bus when I was a kid up and down hills of our dirt road. Now my favorite pasttime is hiking. A good majority of my “mommy dates” with the kids are hiking or biking. So now they’re liking it too and will hopefully pass on the love of exercise to their children.

Pictures

Seeing other people do things inspires and motivates me. I don’t have any of me riding my exercise bike. But here are a few of our family exercise time. It’s been more beneficial for bonding time than health I reckon and I’m so glad my mom taught me to love exercise.

5 children going on a walk in a double stroller and on bikes.
Our morning walks after breakfast and before starting school. January 2008. It’s hard getting 5 little kids ages 7 and under ready but so worth it. We made wonderful memories and showed the children the value of exercise and outdoor time.
Five children going on a walk in the double stroller and on bikes.
girl doing the splits in the road at Grandfather Mountain
My oldest, Kylie taught herself to do the splits because we make exercise a regular and fun part of our homeschool.
For Samuel’s last birthday he asked if he could do a 12 mile hike with me so we did!
Two happy bike riders
For my birthday last year (2022) my greatest wish was to go hiking with all 10 children. They all happily obliged. Here they hike with their buddies: Spencer & Samuel (front), Madalyn & Makenna, Kylie & Kaitlyn, Alexis & Anderson, Thomas & Talea.
Seeing the waterfall at the end of the hike.

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