Running to not stand still

Rachel Dean-Zuback runs with her sons Braydon, 2 1/2, and Carter, 5 and her husband Nick Zuback. - Andrew Leong
Rachel Dean-Zuback runs with her sons Braydon, 2 1/2, and Carter, 5 and her husband Nick Zuback.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Fitness instructor Rachel Dean-Zuback has always kept herself fit. But after her first son was born, she struggled to find time to exercise.

"It was definitely harder after the first. How do I do this? How do I juggle this all?"

Her husband Nick Zuback, a local wrestling coach, was also vying for time to exercise. By the time their second son arrived, they had a system in place that gave them both time to work out.

Dean-Zuback said going to the gym or for a run is how she takes a break from her hectic day as a working mother. It's what she does for fun, which she said is the key to any activity you add to your routine.

"Find a way to make it fun and work in your life. Make it a positive, not a chore."

One way to make it fun is to choose an activity you can do with your partner. Running may not be fun for you, so explore all kinds of activities together to see what feels right. And make a date of it.

"Try doing something different together. Go for a bike ride or kayaking. Another good one is Nanaimo WildPlay. It is a workout. They have a ropes course. You're climbing, going across zip lines, obstacles. It's a total workout. Get a babysitter and go for a hike up Mount Tzouhalem."

Dean-Zuback said paying a babysitter to make time for activity is okay, and not something parents should feel guilty about.

"It's good for you. My husband and I were training for a half marathon and we hired a babysitter regularly. It's time together and it's an activity. We have babysitters that our kids love. I don't feel guilty because they have fun with the babysitter. It's never an issue. We were lucky that way."

Dean-Zuback admitted vanity was her main motivation—at first. She wanted to lose the weight she gained carrying her babies, but she also believes keeping active also helps her to be a better mother.

"I have more patience. I feel happier. I feel a difference when I'm active. On the days I don't exercise, I am more sluggish or negative. And it helps me to keep active with them all day. The mental health benefits of physical activity really drives me."

Dean-Zuback said making a plan, writing it on the calendar and treating it like it's an appointment you can't miss will help you overcome procrastinate. The more concrete the plan, the better. That, and having a goal.

"Without a goal it's easy to lose sight of the mental and physical health benefits. If there's a goal you're working towards, then you know what you're striving for. It's short term so it's easier to put your mind to it. Once you get that momentum going, you get into it and it's almost like an addiction. You want more."

Learn about Dean-Zuback's fitness programs here.

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