Lauren here! This week I’m going to be talking about the importance of fitness as parents. As a mom, finding the time to workout can be challenging when you have sports practice, dance recitals and school plays to get to every night after you’ve already worked a full day yourself. At times, it may seem like you can’t possibly fit another activity into your schedule, but you don’t need to spend three hours a day at the gym to be healthy. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is all you need to start reaping the benefits! I find that tapping into intrinsic motivation gives me the energy to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of my “whys” that keep me going:
1. Being the best version of myself.
We all know exercise makes us feel our best. As a parent, it’s easy to neglect self-care. However, our children deserve us to be at our best. People who exercise tend to eat healthier and drink more water, report generally better moods and less depression and anxiety, and present fewer chronic conditions later in life. You want to be a present parent, and maybe even a present grandparent!
2. Set a good example for my son.
Our children learn by watching us. When they see their parents prioritize wellness, it plants a seed for them to do the same. By implementing healthy habits from a young age, our children will grow up to be healthier, happier adults!
3. Establishes a routine while encouraging wellness and longevity.
The benefits of regular exercise are undeniable. Being a parent can undoubtedly be a stressful job. A good cardio workout, yoga or Pilates is a surefire to de-stress and clear your mind. Exercise also promotes better sleep, which increases energy throughout the day. Before you know it, exercise will be a part of your daily schedule, much like brushing your teeth or taking a shower!
4. Create opportunities for positive social growth.
Team sports at any level -- intramural, recreational, or school-based leagues -- are opportunities to mix fitness with relationship building for any age level. Fitness classes are a great place to meet like-minded individuals who share the same values! If you have younger kids, invite another parent on a walk with your babies! You’d be surprised at the number of parents who want to do this, they just haven’t been invited yet (this is your hint to be that person).
Implementing fitness into your lifestyle:
-Wake up early - at first it will be hard to establish a routine, but eventually, it will become a habit. As a parent, things inevitably come up throughout the day that deter you from exercise, so it’s best to check off the exercise box first thing in the morning when beginning a fitness regimen.
-Set attainable goals. Start with a small habit that snowballs into a lifestyle. Scalable, sustainable habits = success.
-Find an accountability partner. Consider a friend, spouse, or someone you meet out and about and just spark up a “gym topic”. Sweat is also a great place to meet an accountability partner. Our themed events, happy hour classes and upcoming team competitions are great ways to connect. Looking forward to seeing friends will make exercise much more enjoyable.
-Celebrate your success. Treat yourself to a new yoga mat or a new pair of running shoes you’ve been wanting. Another way to celebrate, which I prefer, would be a spa day. Nothing beats a pedicure, manicure, facial or a massage.
I hope these tips are helpful and motivating to you. You may already be doing some, or all, of them! As parents, sometimes we feel like we must be everything to everyone. Don’t stress -- make exercise fun and enjoyable, take baby steps and give yourself the grace to make mistakes. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!