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As a mom of three busy, wild rascals, I rarely have an opportunity to workout or just think. I find myself driving the kids around aimlessly when I just want to let my brain relax and they are quiet in the car. Giving your brain freedom to wander is essential for rest and creativity. Running is my favorite way to de-stress and workout at the same time. I believe, and many studies agree, that running is very productive for your brain. For the last 4.5 years, I haven’t been running. I’ve been pregnant and having babies. Nursing and recovering. Now that my baby is 14 months, and the oldest is almost 5, I’ve started running again, and it feels so good.

You really can start running again after years of not running. It’s not fun, but so worth it once you get going. After just a few weeks of running with my jogging stroller I can go about 5 miles on a good day, and I get out 4 or 5 days a week! And, I have to say my mind feels better, I am more creative, and I have a lot more energy. I should probably note that when I say run, it’s more like I feel like I am running so fast, but it’s a slow jog. Don’t envision me out sprinting with two or three kids in my double jogger for 5 miles. I stop and fix things for the kids, we run to the park and play then run back. I’m not intense about it, just excited I make it. Because I’ve had such a good experience with running for myself, my body, my mind and even my blog (I’ve had so many fun ideas on posts to write, its great!!), I want to go over exactly how I got started.

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First, Focus on Glutes, Hips and Thighs:

When you first start running, if you don’t strenghten these joints you can run into knee or shin problems. Your glutes, hips and thighs are super important to protecting your knees while running. Activation exercises before your run are always a good idea, to get these muscles active and engaged. They aren’t engaged at all while we are sitting or driving. This article shows you some great moves to do this.

Second, Start With Walking:

I started by walking more, rather than jogging to build a habit. I have my oldest in a small pre-k class for a few hours in the morning, so I made this my time to utilize only having two children in the stroller. It was so hard when I first started running. I hated how hard I was breathing and uncomfortable I was running with the stroller. I just let myself walk and take breaks, so I didn’t get discouraged. Being a person that used to run miles and miles, this was a bit annoying that I couldn’t even run 5 minutes. But it paid off because now I’m doing much better. Walking is totally okay.

Third, Get Creative For Kid Entertainment:

This can be more difficult than actually running I load my little ones up with snacks and sippy cups. Because of the time of day I go, they are both usually a bit tired, and the baby falls asleep. The three-year-old relaxes and chats with me. He’s not always happy about the stroller ride, so I pick destinations for him to play. We run to the beach, a new park, I let him run with me a bit, or I play stories on my phone. I don’t like the story part because I want to listen to my own music or podcast, so it is a last resort. If you have an extra tablet that is a great way to go. I try to avoid electronic entertainment, but sometimes you have to do it! I love Audible because you can play stories, rather than having your kids watch shows, which enriches their imagination and is just like I was reading him a story.Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. I also really like the Amazon Music because I can listen to anything I want. You can Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial to see how it works for you too. I love a free trial, it helps me find the best solutions!

Fourth, Listen to Something Great:

This is a huge reason I run. I literally get a chance to listen to something that is for me. I alternate between music and podcasts or sermons. It depends on my mood. CreativeLive is my new favorite places to listen to life, money and success lectures. These are top-notch professionals who really inspire me to push myself. Some classes you pay for, and there is a bunch offered free that you can check out or plan to join while you run. One thing that’s been such a great little purchase are my wireless headphones. I didn’t go for the Beats because let’s face it. They are expensive and my kids break everything. I grabbed these totally affordable head phones, and they connect via blue tooth. Super easy and no cord flapping around while you try and push the stroller. Springmoves is a new app I just downloaded and want to try too! It’s free and apparently is a soundtrack just for runners! Pretty awesome.

If you want to really help yourself, you can give Aaptiv a try. It’s seriously like having a running coach in your ear. There’s a free trial that’s worth a go to see if it helps you get out and get going! When you visit the site, listen to the sample, and that’s what sold me!

Fifth, Don’t Take More Than One Day Off:

In the beginning this is super important because you are building a habit. If you give yourself two days off, it will be hard to start again. Sore or not, you need to get out and go. I’ve dragged myself out the door, with three kids piled into my double stroller, totally not feeling like going and had the worst run ever, but made it. It could be your worst run, you may end up walking, you might get a side ache but just go. It’s essential to building and loving the habit. As you get in better shape, you will be able to take a few days off without it affecting much. But in the beginning, just keep going!

Running is totally worth it if you can make yourself do it. Obviously I have sunny weather here, but I lived in the PNW my whole life, and I know that you can bundle up and go, even when it’s cold and rainy. It’s not as fun, but the winter months are short, and before you know it the spring sunshine will be poking out, and you’ll already have your habit down for the summer. I want to leave you with some scientific motivation to help you get going. Check out this from Research Digest: 
David Raichlen and his colleagues scanned the brains of young, competitive distance runners and controls while they rested in a scanner with their eyes open for six minutes. As reported in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the runners showed greater connectivity between the so-called frontal parietal network and other neural regions involved in working memory and self-control, which the researchers interpreted as likely due to the cognitive demands of running and the runners’ increased aerobic fitness. The runners also showed greater “anti-correlation” between their default mode network (the DMN, which sparks into life when we’re resting) and a series of regions involved in motor control and sensation – the researchers said this could indicate that when on the move, the runners are likely to be very cognitively engaged, with their DMN suppressed.
Say goodbye to mom brain! All of us moms need a brain and mood boost, and this is a great way to do it! Make sure you have a great jogging stroller and tennis shoes, and you will be on your way in no time!


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