You know exercise is good for you, but it can be difficult to find the time as a busy mom. After all, screaming children don’t create the most calming ambiance for a yoga session. Yet, as challenging as working out might be, it’s crucial you make time to move, breathe and sweat regularly. Here are a few reasons why working out regularly is a must, especially for mamas.
1. Establishes Routines
When you have kids, your whole world flips upside down and every semblance of normalcy disappears, including your daily routine. While this change is necessary and natural in the beginning — think nighttime feedings and midday naps — it’s important to re-establish some sort of schedule as your baby grows. Exercise can help you recreate a routine, especially if you work out at the same time every day or determine to hit the gym as soon as you wake up.
2. Increases Self-Esteem
Regularly working out may also give you a glimpse of your pre-baby body, which can provide a helpful boost to your self-esteem. On top of feeling good about your new physique, you’ll also gain confidence in your capabilities as a mom. As you set new personal records and do hard things in the gym, you’ll realize you can handle more than you thought in both the weight room and at home.
3. Improves Sleep
Moms who engage in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes each day may also enjoy better sleep. While researchers don’t completely understand the link between the two, they do know that exercise increases your slow-wave or deep sleep. During this time, the body and brain have a chance to decompress and replenish themselves. What mom wouldn’t enjoy a bit more of that deep, revitalizing sleep?
4. Relieves Stress
As a mom, you experience more stress in a single day than most people do in a week. From mediating fights between siblings to managing meltdowns in Target, you know a thing or two about tension and anxiety. Luckily, exercise can relieve your stress by increasing your endorphin, dopamine and serotonin levels. These mood-boosters can put you at ease in minutes and restore your optimism throughout the day.
5. Helps You Focus
When you’re balancing five tasks at once and trying to remember everything on your to-do list, focusing on one thing can be nearly impossible. However, since working out boosts your norepinephrine and dopamine levels, exercise can also improve your attention span and concentration. In much the same way Adderall and Ritalin can calm your overactive mind, exercise can soothe your brain, settle your nerves and help you hone in on the task at hand.
6. Boosts Energy and Strength
You’ll be carrying your baby on your hip and chasing the little ones around for the next few years, anyway. Why not feel good doing it? When you pre-condition yourself with exercise, you won’t tire out as quickly playing with the kids or getting things done around the house. Plus, you’ll be stronger and less likely to experience injury and energy dips, even as you grow older.
7. Sets a Good Example
Working out regularly inspires other positive lifestyle choices like eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of sleep. Eventually, these habits will trickle down to your kids and make their lives better, too. As they watch you make smart decisions and make your health a priority, they’ll want to do the same. Thus, setting a good example will benefit your entire family and establish healthy habits that your kids can take with them even into adulthood.
8. Minimizes Risk of Disease
Lack of physical activity can increase belly fat and put unnecessary stress on your organs. Eventually, this sedentary lifestyle can raise blood pressure and blood fat levels, increasing your risk of developing diseases and health complications. For instance, insufficiently active people face double the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Of course, most of these conditions are preventable so long as you exercise regularly and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
9. Prolongs Your Life
Of course, minimizing your risk of disease can prolong your life. However, exercise can also slow the aging process on a cellular level. One study found that older people who exercise regularly have longer telomeres — nucleoprotein caps at the end of chromosomes. These longer caps delay cell deterioration and can even reduce cellular aging by nine years. Other studies suggest that vigorous exercise can also prolong your life more than five years longer than if you were sedentary.
Making It Happen
As a mom, you deserve to feel good about yourself and your parenting capabilities. However, you can’t pour from an empty cup, which is why exercise is so vital. Unless you take the time to invest in yourself and your well-being, you won’t be able to give mom life your best shot. Plus, your kids aren’t the only ones that deserve love and care. You do, too!
Make those daily workouts work for you by reclaiming just a few minutes of your day. Do a few pushups, take a short yoga class or take a quick jog around the block. Then, as you find the time, lengthen your sweat session to half an hour or so. Even this short time frame can make a difference.
Most importantly, if you can’t get away from the kids, include them. Go to the park, run around the backyard and have fun. Your workouts might just become everyone’s favorite part of the day.