Motherhood – it is called the greatest, yet most challenging job in the world. A mother’s mind spins with family friendly suburbs, cars, good schools and enriching hobbies for her kids. But increasing her own strength and fitness not only enhances her experience of motherhood, but effects the wellbeing of the whole family.
As a new mum, life is full of more bending, lifting and carrying than ever before. Strong legs, back and core are a must for almost every minute of every day, from lifting a baby out of bath to putting it into a stroller, and even getting the stroller out of the car boot. As children grow they get more mobile and more energetic. Anyone only needs to spend 24 hours with a toddler to experience a good run around.
Indulging in their own exercise therapy allows mums to enjoy these years, instead of simply trying to keep up. Moreover, role modelling for the children starts early and extends to everything a mother does. Shannon, a mum of 2 girls says, “I want my kids to see me exercise and grow up aspiring to be fit and healthy”.
An often undervalued benefit of a strong body is the ability to cope with less sleep. Breast feeding through the night is only the beginning of parental sleep deprivation. There are many sleep interrupted nights due to bad dreams, bed wetting and stomach ache, right through to keeping one ear open for a beloved teenager to arrive home from a party.
Unless a mother has the luxury of snatching a catch up nap later, she needs to be able to function efficiently with less than the optimal 8 hours shut eye. As Marsha, mum to 2 young boys says, “it might seem crazy squeezing in exercise when I’m already tired and busy, but it is keeping fit that gives me the energy to do everything I need to do”.
It is well known that exercising burns off excess stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin, thereby diminishing anxiety and increasing resilience and coping skills in all mums. What could be more useful than the ability to think clearly and stay calm in the face of a 2 year old’s tantrum in the middle of the supermarket, or your hormonal 15 year olds’ arrival home past curfew.
Elaine, mum to 3 kids aged 8 to 15 credits regular exercise for maintaining a healthy mind and happy household. “Sure I want to look good, but it is my sanity that I regain amongst dumbbells and boxing gloves and I take that home with me”.
Mums are often the back bone of the family. So the stronger they are physically, mentally and emotionally, the better the household, life and experience for everyone.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub
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