When you become a mother it can often feel like you have to completely give up the life you once knew in order to raise your children, and in a sense that's true. But even though it might be difficult initially to restructure your life, nothing is more rewarding than seeing your kids grow up.
One of the first things to go out the window when you become a mother is how often you exercise. It's easy to make all kinds of excuses about how busy you are, how tired you are, and how much your children need you, but there's really no better time to prioritize your health and wellness than when you have children relying on you for everything.
Exercise Isn't Optional When You're a Mom
The most basic part of being a mom is having helpless children and babies relying on you for everything. This is especially hard to adjust to when you welcome your first baby into the world. Suddenly this newborn needs to be fed every two hours and requires your care and attention 24/7. This is usually the time when moms give up exercise altogether, and sometimes they give it up because they believe it's a waste of time.
But there is truly no better time to take care of your health and be active than when you're a mother. The fact that you have little ones relying on you for everything means that you need to be at peak performance – you have to be alert, strong, clear-headed, energetic, and motivated. Now, more than ever, exercise is important and necessary. Working out not only develops a stronger physique, but it improves bone density, boosts your immune system (crucial when you have little kids running around), helps you sleep better, provides you with more energy, boosts your mood, and even increases your sex drive.
There is no better time to take care of your health than when you're a mother.
As a first-time mother of an infant, I know that exercising often is much easier said than done. But I've always found it ironic that so many women throw away their fitness routine in the phase of their life when it's most important. Because at the end of the day, working out isn't about how you look or how your clothes fit. It's about preparing your body to live life fully with a minimum amount of injuries and the maximum amount of joy and energy. And as a trainer who has been working in the fitness world for nearly 10 years, I try to make women realize that it doesn't take nearly as much time and effort as you think to stay active. Here are some easy ways to exercise when you're a busy mom.
Take Daily Walks with Your Kids
Kids love to be outside and be active, and I've never known any child to say no to more outdoor time. Taking your kids on a daily walk is a win-win for everyone – it gets you out of the house and active while also giving your children an outlet to get out all of their energy. Find a time every day that works for your family. Maybe it's a morning walk before breakfast, a lunchtime stroll, or an outing after you finish eating dinner.
Your walks don't have to be long. You can just spend 15 minutes outside, even just taking a walk around the neighborhood. That time may increase little by little as you adjust your schedule, and soon enough it becomes a family habit that everyone can participate in joyfully.
Aim for 10,000 Steps a Day
10,000 steps sounds like a lofty goal. It may even sound impossible at first. But I assure you it's attainable, especially when you realize that walking isn't the only way to rack up your steps. Various day-to-day activities that increase your step count include cooking, cleaning, organizing the house, playing with your kids, and even dancing. The key to achieving 10,000 steps a day is simply to avoid being sedentary. Don't stay seated for more than an hour at a time, move around and keep yourself busy. This goes a long way, and by the end of the day you will be pleasantly surprised at how many steps you racked up on your fitness tracker.
At the end of the day, working out isn't about how you look or how your clothes fit.
Ask for Help from Family and Friends
Moms often have a tough time asking for help, especially if they're new to motherhood. But there is no shame whatsoever in asking your family or friends to watch your kids for an hour or two while you hit the gym. In fact, that's a wonderful decision to make for yourself and ultimately for your family. If you need to bring in a sitter to stay with your kids once or a twice a week so you have a regular schedule of exercising, you'll be thrilled at how much exercise you fit into your routine. Don't ever feel ashamed about asking others to help you out when you need it. It really does take a village.
I can't stress enough how important it is to stay fit and healthy as a mother. The ripple effects go far and wide when you take care of yourself, so even when it gets hard, make an effort to stay active and keep your health in order.