Parenting often features exhausting loads of responsibility and very few accolades. Every day, we as moms make sure that our kids are fed, well-rested, and generally taken care of. But this concern for our kids often comes at our own expense. The result? As the emotional anchor of her family, a mom who ignores her own personal care (physical and mental) reduces her ability to parent with the joy and confidence she needs to succeed.
Beyond the obvious health benefits, exercise offers a tangible psychological boost. The rewards are far-reaching and well worth your time and effort. As proof, here are six benefits of exercise that I’m convinced will make you an even better mom than you are right this second.
- You become a healthy role model. It’s one thing to tell your kids to exercise and eat well. It’s a whole other thing if you actually do it yourself. Showing a sense of self-care through exercise sends the clear message that you take your health seriously and that they should, as well. Demonstrate healthy exercise habits today, and watch as your kids mimic them on their own tomorrow.
- You’re able to blow off steam. As moms, we sure as heck don’t earn any badges for showing patience, but we are well aware of how awful we feel when we lose our temper. Moments of chaos, confusion, and loss of control should be expected when raising kids. Being able to release that negative energy and shift your focus can help you calm down and gain a much needed sense of perspective. I even recommend investing in a punching bag and gloves, as it’s a great workout and can feel incredibly satisfying.
- You gain an increased sense of accomplishment. It’s important to take each day one at a time and as you move through it, pat yourself on the back for small and large accomplishments. For moms, kids are an unreliable source of that sense of accomplishment. It’s pretty much expected that you be a good mom, so rewards are usually few and far between. Sticking to an exercise regime, however, will leave you feeling proud of yourself. Each and every workout has the potential to bring about self-improvement and a genuine sense of accomplishment.
- You reduce your anxiety while improving your mood. Consistent exercise reduces our chance of developing stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. It also releases chemicals that reduce anxiety and improve our mood. And as you know, there are oh so many sources of stress that come from being a mom. Exercising can counteract the unavoidable stresses of parenting.
- You experience an increase in optimism. Exercise has the ability to change your self-perception, and can provide a positive sense of personal mastery. It also has the ability to lessen negative thinking. An optimistic outlook improves health and well-being – and it’s even known to lengthen life expectancy.
- You reduce your chances of experiencing depression. Researchers are discovering that exercise works at least as well against mild-to-moderate depression as other forms of treatment. It may be an alternative to current forms of treatment – even in severe cases. Too many moms face depression due to identity shifts, sleep deprivation, and the typical demands of motherhood. Exercise just might be the thing that staves off depression and fosters joy. That’s definitely a win-win in my book.