My answer is: YES!
Parenting a small child is a more physically demanding job than I ever imagined. It’s tempting to think that playing chase, carrying a baby, and wrestling on the floor can count as our daily exercise. However, we may have gotten too used the modern sedentary lifestyle we had pre-baby.
Our bodies benefit from moving all day, and from additional targeted, intentional physical activity. As parents, we’re involved in many repetitive activities that can throw our body off balance over time.
We need to promote balance and strength. Here’s some more explanation for why you need to exercise:
Balance, Alignment and Restoration
Picture someone pushing a stroller, nursing a baby, vacuuming, changing a diaper, doing dishes, and holding a baby. As a mom, these are probably the activities you’re doing for the majority of the day.
What do they all have in common? A stooped forward position with rounded shoulders or a pushing motion.
Our body is meant to move in every direction, using every muscle group. When we spend too much time sitting or involved in repetitive motions, our body will lose its ideal natural alignment. Certain muscles will become weak and overstretched, while others will become tight. This can result in chronic aches and pains and a higher potential for injury.
Exercise can be medicine for moms with aches and pains:
- Move your body through it’s complete range of motion
- Stretch all muscle groups and open up areas of the body that are tight
- Strengthen muscles groups that are underused
Walking with your baby in a carrier or stroller may be your only option for exercise as a mom. However, this can exacerbate some of the already existing imbalances in your body and posture.
Walking is a great form of exercise that I highly encourage, but be sure you stretch well and don’t neglect strength training to build up the areas of your body that are weak.
Expanding Your Capacity
Maybe it’s hard to exercise because you already feel completely physically depleted…but what if this could change? Some of the proven benefits of exercise are better quality sleep, decreased stress, and more energy.
Rather than merely surviving your daily obligations and collapsing into bed, train your body and expand your capacity. The right kind of exercise will make you stronger and improve your endurance and stamina.
Physical and mental wellbeing are linked. Being physically stronger and more easily able to complete your daily to-dos will translate to a more enjoyable day and peace of mind.
Busting a Weight Loss Plateau
Some of the pregnancy weight will naturally fall off when you give birth. But you might relate to what I experienced with my first pregnancy. After the first two months, my weight was stuck in the same spot, which happened to be 20 pounds more my pre-pregnancy weight.
What did I do? I faced the fact I could not sit around watching TV and eating Twizzlers and the weight to magically fall off. Nursing a baby was not enough to counterbalance bad habits!
Fortunately, it may not take a lot – just a change to your current routine. It may simply be adding 15 minutes of strength training or cardio a few times a week.
Remember that to achieve a new state, you need to change your current activities and habits. You can’t simply do what’s most comfortable or convenient. You need to work on the weak areas, and push a little further.
An Important Tip
Start small and don’t overdo it! It’s important not to take on too much too quickly or you may get:
- Even more fatigued/burned out
- Overwhelmed with the commitment and more likely to quit
You ARE a very busy and physically active mom, this article isn’t meant to discount that fact. A small amount of targeted effort can have big results. Exercise should be used to enhance what you’re already doing, restoring balance and increasing strength.
Start out with short bouts of yoga, strength training, dance, etc. a few times a week. It’s not going to take an Ironman training program to achieve the benefits and results discussed in this article.
You are already a Super Woman!
What is your current exercise routine? What is your biggest struggle? Please share in comments below: