Why Working Moms Need to Exercise
Before I had kids, I was an avid runner and committed to exercise 5-6 days a week. I was really regimented about it. When I got pregnant, I will be honest, I kept up with it. I lowered my intensity, but I still put in a solid 3-4 days a week. Even on maternity leave I was pretty good about making exercise a priority. But that all came to a screeching halt when I went back to work full time. I just couldn’t find the time and I felt…lousy! I was tired, unmotivated and pudgy! I kept trying different at home programs and would stick to it for a short while and then fall off the wagon. But…about a year ago a gym opened up only five minutes from my house that offered 60-minute intense workouts. Once I started going regularly it became a habit and I feel much more motivated, I have more energy, I feel strong and generally more comfortable in my skin.
Being a working mom is incredibly hard. We have so much guilt spending time away from home and our family that finding time for anything is insanely difficult, let alone something “for yourself.” We need to push these feelings of guilt to the side and invest our time to work out. Not only will it improve your own mental state, but it will help your family as well.
Here is why all working moms should find time for exercise.
1. Being a Role Model for Your Family
Monkey see, monkey do. If your kids see you exercising and making your health a priority, they are likely to follow suit. When they see that you carve out time for your physical fitness every day, the message will be crystal clear that this is an important part of life. Especially when they see you chose to exercise over screen time. We all want our kids to put down the screens and to be more active, the best place to start is to demonstrate it yourself. You can also find ways to stay active and workout as a family. We often will go on family walks or hikes, so the kids see that exercise is not only important, but fun too.
2. Self Esteem
For a few years after having my girls I was pretty self-conscious. Two pregnancies in two years did a number on my body. I felt squishy and just uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt pretty down on myself. Regularly exercising makes me feel proud of my body and what it has done and what it continues to do. Am I perfect ten, heck no! Will I ever have a perfect bikini body, also no. But I do not feel badly or embarrassed in my own skin either because I know this body is strong!
3. Mental Health
We working moms carry a lot of stress. We have to juggle a lot of balls every day. And sometimes that can be too much to take, even for the most zen of us. I know, for myself, I am not a zen like creature and I need a stress relief. Exercise provides that release. Even if I am dragging my butt before I start, I always feel better when I finish. I am generally more happy, relaxed, rested, and stress-free. Regular exercise also improves long-term depression and anxiety. This is yet another way that exercise not only benefits you but those around you.
Before I was on my regular exercise schedule, I would come home after a long day and I was simply lazy. I was inclined to be a lazy mom. Deep inside I was not happy with being so passive around my active kids. But once I started working out more, I had more energy. In fact, I want to share with them my active lifestyle. So, we do a lot less inside time and a lot more family walks, racing around the yard and generally leading an active life.
5. Building Strength
With age you lose…strength and speed and generally feel older. Since I started my regular routine, I feel stronger and healthier and more like the younger version of myself. I never wanted to be the mom that couldn’t keep up – and right now I am not. In fact, I think the older me may beat my younger self in a race! For me, working out is an activity that reminds me of the younger version of myself…but is now wiser and smarter.
6 Daddy “day care”
Okay, okay…I know it isn’t daddy day care, but we all know that when mommy is around, mommy is the default parent. The kids come to me with every little complaint, request and concern. But…when I leave on Sunday mornings for a class or I am getting a workout in the basement, it is daddy time. At first it was a hard cycle to break, they would cry when I left, or they would be asking me for water or a treat every 5 minutes. But now they relish daddy time. Let’s face it – daddy is usually more fun – so they enjoy the one on one with Dad and I enjoy my mental break.
Do not let anyone shame you for taking an hour of your day to work on your body and to make yourself a healthier version of you. Everytime you exercise you are sending a positive message to your kids and your family that healthy living is important and it is healthy to care about ourselves and our bodies.
DO YOU EXERCISE REGULARLY? WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO FIND THE TIME FOR YOURSELF? PLEASE SHARE.