The research is clear pertaining to the many benefits of exercise. Yet, as moms, we tend to push off the need for exercise – or basically anything that involves ourselves. We make excuses – no time, too tired, we don’t know how, we can’t afford it – you name it, we’ve said it. But the truth is, excuses are just excuses – they don’t make us better, they don’t make us stronger – the only way to get better is to work harder, work better, and try harder. The excuses for exercise become our excuses for life; if we continue to not put ourselves first, we will fall into a habitual routine of never taking care of ourselves. It’s more than just exercise, it’s who we are – if we are truly important to ourselves, we’d make time for us, to be the person we want to be.
The Importance of Exercise
- Stress – We can all admit that stress is a big part of motherhood. We try to manage it on our own, but it goes back to staying true to ourselves. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through exercise.
- Sleep – The more you exercise, the better you sleep, by improving the quality and duration of your sleep. One study found that women who exercised 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week improved sleep quality by 65%.
- Role Models – Our kids watch our every move, they emulate us even when we aren’t looking. That means if we eat salads and go on runs, they are watching. They are also watching when we do the opposite.
- Be the Best Mom You Can Be – Exercise can elevate our levels of serotonin and make us happier. The common term “runner’s high” is the feeling those who exercise a lot get that helps them to feel happier or joyful during and after exercises. This can help us fight postpartum depression or just the everyday weight of motherhood. Motherhood is hard; do something for yourself that will make you feel better.
- Boosts energy – Exercises strengthen the circulation and the heart muscles which improves energy levels. You train your body to cultivate energy during exercise; this strength carries over into your day to day, thus making you less tired. Who couldn’t use more energy when chasing around crazy kiddos?!
- Confidence and Strength – Feeling good about yourself isn’t about being skinny – it’s about being strong. Strong is the new skinny, and confidence, as Lil Wayne says, “is a stain they can’t wipe off”. You’ve got it girl – you flaunt it – no matter what size or shape, it’s all about being healthy. Athleta has launched a new women’s empowerment campaign called The Power of She. What better way to say we love ourselves, our children, and our future than to take care of our health now.
At Home Workouts
Remember the excuses: don’t have money, can’t find the time, or maybe you don’t feel comfortable at the gym, well, there are tons of great workout videos available on YouTube. Below are a few of our favorites.
- Fitness Blender provides free online workout videos, at-home workouts, recipes, and more. You can’t go wrong with the variety, hard, but still fun workouts. They vary in length, times, and intensity.
- Bad Yogi – Reinventing the face of yoga, Bad Yogi is an awesome collection of videos and informational posts. Yoga isn’t just for the perfect body, vegan, clean eating person – Yogi’s of all shapes and sizes will love Bad Yogi.
- Betty Rocker – An awesome compilation of go anywhere fitness challenges and classes. Betty Rocker is very inspirational and down to earth and shows you that being fit can be accomplished almost anywhere.
- Pop Sugar – Delivers trending fitness workouts, videos, and tips from some of the industry’s best trainers.
Some people hate gyms; they feel they are restrictive or just don’t meet their needs. Or maybe they just love being outdoors. Either way, here are some suggestions – that can fit in all budget ranges – to try outside.
- Running, hiking, walking – you can pretty much do this anywhere, which makes them completely versatile. You can start with walking and work your way up to something harder.
- Yoga – Yoga doesn’t have to be done in a studio; you can try pop up yoga, donation yoga, or even yoga at local breweries. These range in prices and variety but can be very zen.
- Playground Exercises – Maybe you want to be outside with your kids or simply don’t have the ability to be away from them; try these creative, but effective playground exercises. Better yet, run or walk in the jogger first, then complete the exercises.
Classes to Try
- Barre – combination of poses from ballet, yoga, and Pilates, these classes will challenge you in ways other fitness programs cannot.
- Boot Camp – these classes generally involve weight training with cardio to maximize your caloric burn. They are generally intense, but give you an awesome workout.
- Cross fit – a high intensity work out program that combines intense exercises with aspects of athletic training.
- Stroller Strides – Stroller Strides combines cardio, weight training, and of course, your stroller for an optimal workout with your child.
- Beach Body – Is a library of variety of fitness programs for whatever stage of exercise you find yourself in. The library is constantly being added to and changed, so you will never get in a workout rut. No matter what your fitness level, you are sure to find something you like on Beach Body.
Photo Credit: Ashley W, Heather, EveryAvenueGirl, B. Mae Photo
Sources: American Heart Association, CDC, Womenshealth.gov