Parents have a hundred priorities to take care of in a day, and right at the bottom of that list is doing something for yourself. The last thing you want to do is get in a workout. A far more attractive option is to flop down on the couch and get a few minutes shut-eye or watch TV or read a book. What if I told you exercise will improve more than just your waistline?
Reduce stress. Taking care of a family is hard work, they have a hundred demands which, depending on their age they can’t communicate outside a scream. This is stressful. Exercise can help reduce your stress levels. Exercise releases endorphins which will improve your mood and help you feel better about life in general.
Increase energy. Exercising regularly will increase in energy levels. A lack of energy can definitely make life seem harder. Use exercise to boost energy, interest and enthusiasm for daily tasks.
Decrease aches and pains. Preventing injury is another thing that mums and dads should consider too. Exercise makes your whole body stronger, therefore reducing injury during daily activities. Our one year old is already 9kg (20lb). Picking him up and moving him about can put a lot of stress on the body.
Strengthen your core. Having a strong core and being strong generally can help prevent lower back injuries which often occur as a result of bending while carrying weight. Such as putting children in cots, car seats, pushchairs etc. Proper lifting technique helps too, which is often a by-product of a good training programme.
Improve self-esteem. Self esteem can be a big issue for new parents especially with the prevalence of post-natal depression or “baby blues”. Even if you’re not prone to depression, I’ve never heard anyone say that more self-esteem is a bad thing!
So there you have it, a few reasons to get some exercise into your week. I know it gets busy, stressful and tiring being a parent, especially a new one who is learning on top of all of this! Start with 10-20 minutes, a few times a week, and you’ll see some great benefits in your life.
David Hutchings is the owner of 360 Degree Fitness Limited — a mobile personal and small group training business based in Wellington, New Zealand. He trains a variety of clients from regular folks trying to get a little fitter to athletes looking to increase their speed and strength. He likes to fish, hang out with his wife and son, and also enjoys classic rock and a good barbecue.