Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Fitness Motivation for Busy Moms

I've been thinking a lot lately about what motivates us busy moms to exercise. Partly that's because I'm working on a book about motherhood and self-care (including moms' fitness), and partly it's because, due to a nagging running injury that needs total rest, I've been sidelined from all exercise for nearly two weeks now. Even though I enjoy exercise and truly miss it when I can't be active, I--like every other mom I know--have definitely had my share of slacker periods, when the call of the sofa drowns out the call of my favorite running trail. And what about when this injury heals--will I be able to rally my exercise motivation and get back on the workout track, after weeks of extra "free" time?

Well, just in case you've ever struggled with fitness motivation like me, here's a reminder of all the reasons you (and I!) should embrace physical activity and become (or remain) a mom who exercises:

  • You'll lose the baby--or toddler, or, ahem, preschooler--weight. Exercise can help you get rid of the pounds that have seemingly taken up permanent residence on your frame, despite the fact that you're no longer manufacturing a tiny person inside your body.
  • And then you'll keep it off. Once you do drop those post-pregnancy pounds, you want it to be for good, right? (Or at least until the next pregnancy?) Exercise helps with that. Not only does it burn calories, but it contributes to an overall faster metabolism. What mom wouldn't love that?
  • You'll rock that tank top--or those skinny jeans--in the school pick-up line. OK, it's vain. But why not let vanity be your best motivation to do something great for your health? Whatever works, mamas!
  • It'll make your life easier. Those toned-from-exercise muscles don't just look great, they're also functional. Being fit makes all those things you do as a busy mom--lugging laundry baskets, toting babies on your hip, carrying groceries and diaper bags and infant carseats--a whole lot easier. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to heft the folded-up double stroller into the back of your mini-van without feeling like you need to go lie down for awhile afterwards?
  • Exercise relieves mama stress. Listen, I know it can be hard to get off the sofa and out the door the second you have the opportunity. Generally it seems like staying seated and ingesting chocolate would be the best idea at those moments. But I promise you, getting some exercise will relieve stress much better than eating chocolate on the couch. Because think about it: after you eat the chocolate, then you have one more thing to be stressed about! You know: the fact that you just ate more chocolate! ARGH!
  • It may be the only "me-time" you'll get this week--or any week. When you're a mom, alone time is about as rare as the kids sleeping in on weekends. If you can escape the family for some solitary exercise time, those valuable solo minutes will recharge your batteries and leave you feeling restored. And once you start viewing your workouts as precious me-time, they take on a whole new meaning. You'll start to cherish and look forward to them. When else do you get to spend a full hour without the sound of someone yelling, "Mama, watch this!" ten million times?
  • You'll be around longer to watch those babies grow up. We all know exercise keeps our insides healthy, promotes cardiovascular strength, helps regulate our cholesterol and blood pressure and blood sugar, and even helps prevent some types of cancer. While there are no guarantees, it's a pretty safe bet that regular exercise will serve your health well over the years, giving you a better chance of being around--and around for your kids--for a good long time. Enough said.
Most of us forget these reasons at times, of course, particularly those times that involve subzero temperatures or a crazy schedule or a million "better" things to do with our time. But try to remind yourself of all the reasons to be a fit mama the next time your motivation flags--maybe even re-read this list--and get out there. You won't regret it.


Rita said...

OMG THANK YOU. I feel as if you wrote this *specifically* for me.

I plan to book mark and come back here when i'm trying to talk myself out of moving my body in any way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post! I'm fitting in an intensive routine right now for personal need and it's certainly an adjustment to get up so early and head to bed early as well!

I know we don't all have that luxury (as I don't have kids I can manipulate my schedule) I wrote a blog post as well! Feel free to visit for plenty more tips!

The power of the net is the sharing of ideas!

Rachel Page said...

I’ve had days when I’ve struggled with exercise. Most recently, the things that have helped include reading blogs like this.