This morning I woke up in a foul mood: it probably had something to do with the fact that my four-month-old woke up at 1, 4, 5 and again at 6. Not sure why! But when my baby wasn’t waking up—and I wasn’t tossing and turning to get back to sleep—my husband was snoring so I had to give him a few swift kicks! Definitely not a good night for shut-eye!
But I had vowed to exercise this morning after dropping my two older kids off at school (the pinch-an-extra-three-inches around my middle had something to do with my determination!).
So despite the fact that I was exhausted, I had already booked a babysitter, so I headed to the gym after buying a giant energizing chai tea latte with soy milk at the coffee shop—and pumped away on the elliptical (with my iTunes cranked up) for 30 minutes and then swam laps (my absolute favorite form of exercising).
Now, I’m sitting here and I feel like a new person. I’m happy and energized. With that said, I’ve put together the top 10 reasons every mom needs to exercise:
1) You’ll be genuinely happier around your kids. I love my kids, I really do. But truth be told, sometimes I get cranky, really cranky, around them—particularly when I’m not getting enough “me” time. “Why are you yelling?” my 8-year-old will ask me. The reason: because I haven’t had my workout today! Other moms I’ve spoken to feel the same way: when they find time to fit in their workout (no matter what it is), they are calmer, more even-keeled moms overall. I’m no different.
2) You won’t feel like strangling your husband anymore. Let’s face it: we love our guys, but sometimes their habits (ahem…like snoring and never hearing the baby cry at night!) are enough to drive any wife or mom to the brink of insanity. But that’s only if you’re not exercising. I speak from experience: you’ll be much happier around your guy—and get less aggravated by their mind-boggling bad habits—when you get out there and burn some calories, baby! Take a class (kickboxing works wonders if you really have some aggravations to take out), crank up your music (I like “Blow” by Ke$ha when I’m really feeling mad!), and exercise. Besides, your libido will be higher when you exercise too…
3) You’ll slim down faster. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to be wearing elastic-waisted maternity (aka “mom”) jeans much longer. That—and having to look somewhat respectable in a bathing suit come summer—are reasons enough to start exercising! It is absolutely guaranteed that if you work out regularly and consistently (about 3 to 4 days a week)—and don’t eat any more than you typically do—you will drop the weight and look leaner overall.
4) You’ll sleep more soundly. There’s plenty of research that points to the fact that regular exercise helps you get to sleep faster—and sleep more soundly—than if you didn’t exercise. This won’t change the fact that your kids wake you up during the night, but chances are you’ll fall back to sleep faster after that happens. One of the things that frustrates me most at night is when I toss and turn (wasted sleep time!) trying to get to sleep…or get back to sleep. But when I exercise, that doesn’t happen!
5) You’ll be better able to resist that leftover grilled cheese sandwich on your kid’s plate. A little nibble here and there as a mom is common, particularly when you have kids that don’t finish everything on their plate (not many kids do!)—or leave leftover snacks. But all those nibbles add up to extra pounds. There’s the grilled cheese, the leftover cookies, the few French fries…. But your willpower gets stronger when you exercise. The reason: you feel better about yourself, which gives you the strength to say “no”. That, plus you just crave healthier foods in general.
6) And speaking of healthier…you’ll be a lot healthier overall. Exercising has been proven to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent (and help manage) diabetes and depression, prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease…the list goes on. What this means, too, you’ll be around a lot longer for your kids…and their kids!
7) You’ll be more motivated to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Run a 5K race or do a triathlon? Check. Look for a new (more flexible) job? Check. Start that business you’ve been thinking about? Check. Whatever it is you want to do, you can do. That’s because exercise makes you more motivated in general. It makes you feel great about yourself and gives you the confidence to accomplish just about anything you set your mind to.
8) You’ll be able to think more clearly. There are some days when I’m in a fog, literally. When I’m out, I leave things (like my credit card!) behind, forget to do things (like take one of my kids to a playdate), and am less able to crank through my work. But when I’m regularly working out, I’m more focused. Exercise helps lift that fog after just one session; do it regularly and you can say good-bye to mommy brain fog for good!
9) You’ll be more confident about yourself. You’ll look in the mirror and like what you see (without being so critical). And I’ve found that I even dress better and carry myself more confidently. On the days I don’t exercise, you can typically find me writing in my home office in an old pair of sweats and baggy t-shirt. But when I do exercise, I wear fitted (and nicer) clothes, do my hair, and swipe on a bit of lipstick. That’s just the norm when you’re exercising regularly: you’re putting the time in, so you want to look good!
10) And last, but not least, you’re making time for YOU! Everything else aside, taking time for just you is so important as a mom. We are constantly doing things for other people all day long…and we need to recharge our own batteries. Exercise is the best way to do it. Don’t waste time doing stuff that you hate to do; find a type of exercise that you love (for me, it’s swimming)—walking, cardio class, biking, tennis, whatever it is—and get out there and do it! You will never regret it.
© Valerie Latona LLC 2012