Tuesday, April 24, 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deprivation, started having terrible migrainelike headaches and, with a new baby in the house, became increasingly withdrawn socially.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
Residents went three days without running water at unlicensed ALFs

Residents went three days without running water at unlicensed ALFs

ST. PETERSBURG — Three days.That’s how long residents of two unlicensed assisted living facilities went without running water before the authorities shut the facilities down last week.The Public Works Department said it turned off the water at 3418 a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

When it comes to fitness, can you tell the difference between fact and fiction? Misinformation abounds, and research is continually disproving it. Some myths, like "no pain, no gain," are fading away, but there are plenty more that persist. It’s impo...
Published: 04/24/18

Veteran who survived blast receives unusual penis transplant

WASHINGTON — A veteran who lost his genitals from a blast in Afghanistan has received the world’s most extensive penis transplant, and doctors said Monday he’s recovering well and expected to leave the hospital this week. Saying they wanted to addres...
Published: 04/23/18
Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Public health officials are now telling consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable that has spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alask...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood is expanding its emergency department. The hospital, 7171 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, is spending $17.5 million to add 15 new private treatment rooms, new pediatric rooms and waiting areas, and new technology, acco...
Published: 04/18/18
Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

As she nears death at age 92, former first lady Barbara Bush’s announcement that she is seeking "comfort care" is shining a light — and stirring debate — on what it means to stop trying to fight terminal illness.Bush, the wife of former President Geo...
Published: 04/17/18
Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

When the patient got violent, Dr. Michelle Hidalgo didn’t have time to think. She had to react. The woman was moving strangely and seemed erratic. Hidalgo had to make a tough call — it was time to physically restrain her for everyone’s safety.Then th...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Lung cancer patients live longer with immune therapy

The odds of survival can greatly improve for people with the most common type of lung cancer if, along with the usual chemotherapy, they are also given a drug that activates the immune system, a major new study has shown.The findings should change me...
Published: 04/16/18
Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

A Pennsylvania food manufacturer is recalling 8, 757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad products following an E. coli outbreak that has spread to several states and sickened dozens of people.Fresh food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, is ...
Published: 04/15/18