Sunday, January 21, 2018
Health

Mom and author says look outdoors for a splendid do-it-yourself gym

Where you see a city park or playground, Haley Bechet sees a do-it-yourself outdoor gym. • The 30-year-old exercise instructor took a while after the birth of her second son to feel normal again. With her hormones going haywire, she felt tired all the time, suffered from severe sleep deprivation, started having terrible migrainelike headaches and, with a new baby in the house, became increasingly withdrawn socially. • She was used to teaching several group exercise classes each week and spending time with others. As soon as her doctor cleared her to return to work, she noticed how much better she felt after teaching. On days she didn't teach, the fatigue and grogginess returned. So on those days off, she started taking the baby out in his stroller for short walks in her Palm Harbor neighborhood. • "Just 10-, 15-minute walks, several times a day," she said. At the end, in the driveway, she'd do a few exercises, grabbing onto whatever was stable and nearby. She was convinced that doing the exercise outside was key and made her feel much better.

"Pretty soon some friends joined in," said Bechet, "and before I knew it, it became a thing — a class."

She started writing down the routines and considered writing a book, for herself at first. But, later, she thought it might help someone else. Last year she published The Moody Mommy's Workouts! (available on Amazon.com), with short, fun routines for the entire family that promise to give you energy, lift your spirits and help get you on the road to fitness.

Bechet, who also works as a group exercise instructor and a hairstylist, is certain she can help just about everyone find time for exercise, especially if they want to make it a family affair. She spoke with the Times recently about her approach to physical fitness and how you can turn a city park or playground into your personal gym.

How can you involve kids and work out at the same time?

Lots of people don't have time to go to the gym if they are working full time. And they don't want to go to the gym and put their kids in day care — they've already been away from them all day. Instead, do something with the kids. Ride your bikes around the block five times. Walk the neighborhood pushing the stroller, doing lunges down the street. Jog in the swimming pool holding your baby. Hold the baby as a weight while doing squats. Get creative about using what's around you.

What if the kids don't want to cooperate?

Don't worry about it. Take them to the park or playground and watch them play while you work out, using what's around you as your equipment. The idea is to get out and move. Step up on benches, stretch out and lift your body off the bench for planks, do situps while sitting in a swing. My 7-year-old exercises with me all the time. My 4-year-old just wants to run around and be silly. But in one more year, he'll be really into it.

But why make it a point to involve as many family members as possible?

Because your kids will see you, you and your spouse, doing things for yourselves that are healthy — getting physical activity in a fun, healthy way. Don't get frustrated if the kids don't do it with you. At least they see you doing it and you're setting a good example for them. In the book you'll find exercises that can be done with the kids and without.

Why do you put a lot of emphasis on exercising outdoors?

Being outdoors gives you an opportunity to see people and get connected with others who might want to exercise, too. Those connections are important. Plus, it's just so good for your psyche to look at the trees, feel the sunshine, hear the birds singing. When I felt so bad after my second son was born, as soon as I went outside to work out, everything subsided and I felt better. Go for a few minutes several times a day. Short bursts of activity.

How did you come up with all the routines in your book?

I was working in Hawaii at a fitness club. I taught classes for moms with young children as well as some stroller fitness classes. It was all outdoors. I got excited looking for new ways to utilize the space and involve the kids and our surroundings. Then I started meeting people for classes in city parks, charging $10 a class or whatever they wanted to give. I did that in Hawaii, Charleston and here.

What about the weather?

Yes, that can be a drawback. But in the summer, I meet moms outside early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. We'll also meet at swimming pools and do running laps, or you can do laps using a kickboard and kids will do the same things right beside you.

How do you work out as a family?

My husband joins in all the time. We love to go kayaking with the kids. They sit between our legs. We also take them out on paddleboards or just paddle around in the kayak, although my older son is getting pretty big and is about ready for his own kayak.

Contact Irene Maher at [email protected]

     
             
Comments
Expect some pain. That’s what hospitals are starting to tell patients as concern spreads over opioids

Expect some pain. That’s what hospitals are starting to tell patients as concern spreads over opioids

Doctors at some of the largest U.S. hospital chains admit they went overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible, and now they shoulder part of the blame for the nation’s opioid crisis. In an effort to be part of the cure, they’ve b...
Published: 01/19/18
It’s flu season, and how: Here’s what you need to know

It’s flu season, and how: Here’s what you need to know

Cristi Fryberger, a fifth-grade teacher, was headed back for the first day of classes at St. Petersburg Christian School after the Christmas break but didn’t feel well. She left a couple of hours later and went to an urgent care clinic, where a swab ...
Published: 01/19/18
This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

When Robert Owens’s father was 75, he gave his son some advice. "He said, ‘You know, son, the sad part is when you get old they just put you on a shelf and you become irrelevant. Fight to stay relevant. Fight to stay in the game, otherwise they will ...
Published: 01/18/18
5 things we learned about Trump from his medical checkup

5 things we learned about Trump from his medical checkup

Five things we learned about President Donald Trump from Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the doctor who oversaw Trump’s first medical checkup in office. SLEEP Trump doesn’t get much shut-eye. Jackson guessed that Trump snoozes four to five hours a nig...
Published: 01/17/18
A century after the 1918 pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

A century after the 1918 pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu

WASHINGTON — The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after one of history’s most catastrophic disease o...
Published: 01/17/18
A popular school fundraiser is just ‘junk-food marketing to kids,’ experts say

A popular school fundraiser is just ‘junk-food marketing to kids,’ experts say

For 43 years, schoolkids and their parents have clipped the labels from cookie bags and cracker boxes as part of a popular rewards program called Labels for Education.Through this and similar programs — think Tyson’s Project A+ or General Mills’ Box ...
Published: 01/17/18
Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Pinellas is at the center of a rise in Florida flu outbreaks

Feeling a little sniffly or scratchy or stuffed up? It may be the flu, and you don’t want to wait around to see a doctor this year. This is not the time to write off flu-like symptoms, Tampa Bay area health officials and doctors warn. The influenza v...
Published: 01/16/18

CDC says ‘There’s lots of flu in lots of places.’ And it’s not going away anytime soon.

A nasty flu season is in full swing across the United States, with a sharp increase in the number of older people and young children being hospitalized, federal health officials said Friday.The latest weekly data from the Centers for Disease Control ...
Published: 01/12/18
Mease Countryside Hospital begins $156M expansion project

Mease Countryside Hospital begins $156M expansion project

SAFETY HARBOR — Mease Countryside Hospital is launching a $156 million expansion to build a four-story patient tower with all private rooms and a four-story parking garage.The tower will include 70 private patient rooms, a 30-bed observation unit, cr...
Published: 01/11/18
Flu shot? This is why you should still get one this year

Flu shot? This is why you should still get one this year

This year’s flu season is shaping up to be a bad one. Much of the country endured a bitterly cold stretch, causing more people to be crowded together inside. The strain that has been most pervasive, H3N2, is nastier than most. And, we’re being told, ...
Published: 01/11/18