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5 Tips to Fit

Happy Women’s Health and Fitness Month from Huddle Up Moms!

With summer ending and fall knocking on our doors, September is a great time to get back into shape. I don’t know about you, but I love trying to get into shape before the cold and holiday season hits! A few of us mamas here are also newly postpartum, and Women’s Health and Fitness Month could not come at a more perfect time! We know sometimes even finding 5 minutes in your day can be challenging when you’re a busy mom which makes working out nearly impossible! We also know that taking the time for yourself and creating a routine that incorporates fitness can help you both physically and mentally, so we wanted to provide you with some help this month!

We are so excited to share with you our “ 5 Tips to Fit” and feature a blog written by a local running guru and Executive Director of the Prevention Council Nancy Hans. Read her amazing journey finding mom life balance through running and fitness.

DISCLOSURE: This information is not meant to be ALL encompassing and should NOT replace seeking advice from your health care provider for specific questions, solutions, and concerns about your health! The purpose of this blog is to spark curiosity and gain some insight into your health.

Tip 1: Know the benefits of exercise and why its important! What can running do for you?

  • Running is one most efficient aerobic exercises.

  • Exposure to some beautiful outdoor adventures.

  • Great for weight loss.

  • Alone time if needed. Create your happy playlist and hit the trails!

  • Proven to increase endorphins and relieve stress.

  • It can be social! Join a running group, grab a friend, or sign up for a race!

  • Inexpensive!!

  • A family affair! As you will read from Nancy's story, you can get the whole family running together.

Tip 2: Pick a PLAN and make it MANAGEABLE

Tip 3: Get yourself some good gear! [See Info-graphic Below.]

Tip 4. Incorporate strength training

  • Weighted walking lunges (3 sets of 10 reps)

  • Weighted/body-weight Squats (3 sets of 10 reps)

  • Plank (3 sets of 60s)

  • Russian twists (3 sets of 45s each side)

  • Push-ups (3 sets to failure)

Tip 5. Just GO

  • It may be challenging to get into a workout routine, commit yourself to a little more each day!

  • You can do it mama!

Nancy Hans' Story

It was the summer of 1977 when my brother and I were home from college. He was attending Rice University on an ROTC scholarship and asked me (coerced) to go on a run with him! I slightly remember staring at him and saying, “Why? Because we are only 9 days less than a year apart in age (I'm the oldest), he thought that he could be brutally honest and told me that I needed to exercise!

Reluctantly, I obliged and ran the 1.7-mile route near our house listening to his "boot" camp songs the whole way. I thought I was going to die at the end of that run! 

Instead, something else happened. Running would eventually become an incredible friend - one that helped me through stressors in college, made me feel really good after a long day, gave my Dad and me something to do together when I came home to visit, and I began to feel those endorphins after each run.

My brother would go on to cajole me, inspire me, sometimes bait me - but always push me to keep setting new running goals. During my senior year in college, I remember reading a book (maybe 50 pages) by a woman who had started running and explained what it did for her.  That was 1979 - 2 years after Katherine Switzer enter the Boston Marathon as K. Switzer. When the run organizers found out she was a woman, they tried to pull her off the course. Fortunately, her boyfriend fought off Jack Kelly, the race director, and she became the first woman to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon!

Beginning a routine of working out allowed me to understand the new strength that I didn't know I had.  My first race was a 10K (6.2 miles) in 1982 and my first marathon (26.2) would be completed in 1985 - the Marine Corps Marathon.  In 1984, I was helping two friends who didn't know much about swimming and were training for a triathlon.  I joined in because of my love of swimming and ended up competing in that triathlon where we had to complete it in backward order - run, bike, swim instead of swim, bike, run - because they had no chip timing and there were volunteers counting your swim laps. That first triathlon (held in Columbia, MD, and now in its 36th year) allowed 90 men but only 30 women. Ironman Kona had only started two years prior with very few women at all.

Fast forward to 1988, 1990, and 1995 – each year that I was blessed with my beautiful babies. I kept the love of the moment going. My running continued until I was told that by the fifth month of pregnancy, it would not be advised to continue.  For each one, I was put on bed rest at 32 weeks since all three wanted to come early. The one thing that my doctors said yes to was swimming and each one, Katie (32), John (30), and Sarah (25) are excellent swimmers! They all arrived at 38 weeks! With the first two, I barely made it to the hospital. Certainly, eating healthy and being able to work out (even a little) assisted with a much easier labor and delivery.

Getting back to running, biking and swimming helped me both physically and mentally after each pregnancy. My birthing years were from age 32-39 and after each one, a little longer post-partum would seep in, due to hormone changes. Movement helped greatly. Simply getting outside - knowing that exercise is directly connected to the brain, the heart, and most of all, the soul.  Consistency is key!  Keep a journal. Write about how you feel and how far you go.  Add those numbers up at the end of each week and you will be astounded what your body can do!

Now, at 63.5 years old, I have crossed over the finish line of 53 triathlons, including 1 full Iron Man 140.6, learned to navigate trail running, completed 11 marathons, and have found an incredible community of friends that love the gift of movement as much as I do.  However, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is a healthy and healthful lifestyle to model.  All three of my adult kids have done sprint tris with me, swam in swim meets together, completed half marathons together, and the absolute best was when they were at the finish line for my crazy long 70.3 and 140.6 triathlons.  The bonding that happens from the moment they see your eyes, from the moment they hear your voice within the first hour of birth – those moments can absolutely continue when you share your love of health all the way into adulthood!  

My advice to you, mom, is just start, have fun, and always smile through the miles right to the finish line! 


Written by Nancy Hans

Nancy Hans is the Executive Director of the Prevention Council. She is a strong advocate for change here in Virginia for those struggling with addiction. She is a mom to 3 incredible adult kids living in Nashville and Amsterdam. When Nancy is not with her kiddos or working with the Prevention Council she can be found hitting the trails, participating in anything outdoors, and training for triathlons. 

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