Stop Sitting on the Sideline

acr90762040082432888058-copyForget your goals for a moment: Getting physically fit can be fun.

Last month, I reported that I’m now facing a little hiccup in my quest to compete in a bodybuilding contest because of what’s informally called “mommy thumb” but is technically known as De Quervain Syndrome.

My left hand has lost strength and mobility, and I’m experiencing some serious issues with wrist pain because of holding my now rather large 19-month-old daughter and have for the past year. Add making a living spent mostly typing on a computer, iPad or my phone, and I’ve got an issue that needs dealing with now.

After my third trip to Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, I was given a brace that immobilizes my thumb to wear around the clock except when showering. That has put my bodybuilding quest on hiatus for a few more weeks, but I’m grateful. It could be so much worse.

In the meantime, my coach, Ryan Schrink of Schrink Personal Training, continues to provide motivation and encouragement, as do many friends (and even complete strangers on occasion), and I’m now focused on eating right, upping my cardio and increasing physical activity with my family.

As an older mom (I’m 42) of a toddler, it’s important to me that Olive sees fitness as fun. That’s why I signed her up for a six-week session of soccer at Mockingbird Valley in Louisville. One day a week, my little one dons her indoor soccer shoes and shin guards and spends 45 minutes running around the field.

At least that’s what she’s supposed to be doing.

Some sessions are better than others, and she’ll use her feet to propel the ball instead of hugging it to her chest. Depending on her mood (again, she’s not quite 2), some of those moments are spent pressing her face against the glass in tears as she searches for her parents in the stands or on her back in a full-on toddler tantrum.

After posting photos of Olive “playing” soccer on Facebook, a well-meaning friend implored me not to force my daughter into organized sports at such an early age. While I had to swallow back my initial knee-jerk reaction – can’t we all stop judging each other for a moment? – the rational me stopped to explain.

One, there is nothing organized about a toddler-filled session of any sport. The point, at least for me, is to impart physical fitness as a fun way to socialize and learn (eventually) to follow the rules.

Two, despite my best efforts, my tot already knows how to swipe and scroll on a smart phone. I’m hopeful participation in athletics – should she choose that when the time comes for her to make choices for herself – will teach her to look up and outward instead of down and at a phone, like so many of us do now.

Three, I want my child to understand the importance of hard work, failure and commitment. These lessons will bode well in many future aspects of life.

Lastly, when she looks at me, I pray my daughter will understand my quest to get physically fit is the only thing I can do to ensure I’m alive and well for as long as possible. Nothing is promised. There are no guarantees. But, I’m going to do everything I can to wake up prepared to enjoy and appreciate each day for Olive and myself.

Sure beats sitting on the sideline.

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