One of the most important things a mother can do is take care of her own health and wellbeing. Unfortunately for most of us when our child comes along, we are so caught up in caring for our family and running our lives around the sleep and feeding patterns of our children that we fail to put our own health first or at least on par. It is so easy to put our own needs and welfare aside for that of our family and the biggest excuse of all is that we just can’t seem to find enough sleep, let alone enough time to go and work out.
However, the benefits for both mother and child are worth finding the time to build up a sweat.
Here are my top 6 tips for exercising more as a mother:
- Exercise helps you to de stress.
- Exercise will assist in weight loss and returning to pre baby body.
- It will help raise your energy levels, lift your mood and lower the chances of post natal depression
- Exercise will restore muscle strength and improve cardiovascular fitness
- By being active you will be a positive role model for your children. A recent study at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research , University of Cambridge U.K has found that the more active a mother is, the more active a child is long term. This in the long run means healthier children, with less risk of disease.
- Exercise will help you sleep better at night. The most important advice I would give to any mother, is to take care of you, find the time to exercise, get a support network to help or simply incorporate your children in the exercise time. When my daughter was born, I walked everywhere with her in the pram, locked in time to get to the gym and set workouts as a priority. By the time my daughter was two years old, I was a single mother with no support for an hour drive. Finding time to exercise was even more difficult. I didn’t have a support network around me and crèche at the gym was becoming an expensive luxury I could no longer afford. So I ran, I literally ran every day starting from around the block and built up to 10km with my daughter in the pram. I walked everywhere, exercised on playground equipment and did circuits in the lounge room that I found on google. I would head outside of her ballet classes and workout on the grass or run up and down the hill while she danced. It’s more about making a commitment to being fitter and setting it as a priority in your mind.
My top 10 tips for finding time to be an active parent:
- Find the time and lock it in, schedule a time for yourself that is non-negotiable.
- Have a support network, get your partners support or use family and friends as babysitters and ask them to support you by making you accountable for sticking to your workouts.
- Have your workout clothes ready the night before, get up early and work out first thing before the children wake. Not only is this the perfect time to be uninterrupted, but it will also have you start your day packed with those feel good endorphins.
- Pre plan what your exercise will entail. Sometimes finding motivation is hard enough, but if you have a plan of what you will be doing, the more likely you will just get straight into it and complete the workout.
- Workout with your children, run with the pram or the children on the bike, have the children join in and do the exercises with you in the back yard.
- Join a gym with a crèche or a mums and bubs workout group. While the children play on the equipment in the local park, find ways to use the equipment to work out. Do pull ups, push ups, lunges, squats and crunches.
- Google search quick easy workouts that don’t require equipment or much space that you can do in the comfort of home while the children sleep.
- Instead of driving short trips down the road, walk with the pram.
- Make family outings outdoors and active. Go for hikes, kick the ball in the park, play tag with the children, pull the kids on toboggans in the snowfields. Run in the shallow water at the beach. Most of these are free and can be considered just as much of a workout as hitting the gym plus it will make your children happy. Children love time with their parents away from distractions.
- Working out should be positive and fun! Make sure your workout is something you enjoy to do or something you see as fun. It may be your only time of the day you get to yourself, so make sure it’s something you will enjoy doing and look forward to.
The main point of this blog is that you can be a parent and keep physically active. Your children and their schedules should not be the reason, or an excuse, that sees you refrain from exercising. Keeping physically active is a great way to feel better, be social and improve your quality of life. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program and for new mothers, be sure to speak to your doctor, midwife or physiotherapist before returning to sport or exercise after birth.
Have a great day,