If you’re a mom—especially a mom of very young children—you know how challenging it can be to squeeze exercise into your busy schedule.
If you can find a few spare minutes between childcare, household duties, kids’ activities, work, errands, and the like, you’re probably more inclined to use them for such relaxing endeavors as sitting still or sleeping rather than expending more energy to go out and work up a sweat.
But wait! There are some major benefits to fitting exercise into your busy-mom life. Here’s a reminder of the payoffs you’ll enjoy if you embrace physical activity and become (or remain) a mom who exercises:
- You’ll lose the baby weight. Post-pregnancy weight is a struggle shared by many new moms. By burning mega-calories, exercise can help you get rid of the pounds that often seem to hang around long after pregnancy is over.
- And then you’ll keep it off. Exercise is key to maintaining weight loss once you’ve dropped those pesky excess pounds. Not only does it burn calories to aid in weight management, it contributes to an overall faster metabolism.
- It’ll make your life easier. Those toned-from-exercise muscles don’t just look great, they’re also functional. Being fit makes all those things you do as a busy mom–lugging laundry baskets, toting babies on your hip, carrying groceries and diaper bags and infant car seats–a whole lot easier. Once you’re in the exercise habit, you’ll notice that your muscles are stronger and your stamina greater.
- Exercise relieves stress. There are plenty of stressful aspects of being a mom. Exercise lowers your level of the stress hormone cortisol, helping you feel calmer and more relaxed. Since high stress is linked to a weakened immune system, difficulty sleeping, and mood problems, that’s good for both your physical and emotional health.
- It may be the only “me-time” you’ll get this week–or any week. When you’re a mom, alone time is about as rare as the kids sleeping in on weekends. If you can escape the family for some solitary exercise time, those valuable solo minutes will recharge your batteries and leave you feeling restored.
- You’ll be around longer to watch your children grow up. We all know exercise keeps our insides healthy, promotes cardiovascular strength, helps regulate our cholesterol and blood pressure and blood sugar, and even helps prevent some types of cancer. While there are no guarantees, it’s a pretty safe bet that regular exercise will serve your health well over the years, giving you a better chance of being around–and around for your kids–for a good long time.
It’s hard to remember how important exercise is when you have a crazy schedule or a million other things demanding your time. But try to remind yourself of all the reasons to be a fit mom the next time your motivation flags–maybe even re-read this list–and get out there. You won’t regret it.
About the Author:
Shannon Hyland-Tassava, PhD, is a clinical health psychologist, writer, and personal wellness coach with a specialty in women’s health, particularly self-care for moms. Her writing as been featured in such print and online publications as Livestrong, BlogHer, Work It, Mom!, The Mothers Movement Online, Motherwords magazine, and others. She is a health columnist for her local newspaper, a mom to two young daughters, and an avid runner. Her first book, a self-help guide to happy, healthy stay-at-home motherhood, will be released in fall 2011 by Booktrope.
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