A New Year. A New You.
How a busy mom of three finds time for exercise
It’s that exciting time of year when we start fresh with our exercise and diet routines. There are so many benefits of regular exercise, yet it seems to be the first thing to go when we become busy moms. As a pediatrician, I am invested in the health of my parents, because this is directly related to the long term health of my patients.
Multiple studies suggest that walking even 20 minutes daily can decrease your risk of mortality and improve your quality of life. Read how a busy working mom finds the time to exercise, and read her perspective on the many benefits of regular exercise. Come on moms out there! You can do it! If not for yourself, then for the long term health of your family.
New year. New you!
From Alison Groom:
Being a working mom of three small kiddos is a hard job for anyone, but finding the time to be healthy and active while being a working mom of three kiddos can be a tough job in itself. For me, finding the time to do something active can be hard and I am certainly not perfect at making it a daily priority, but I do my best to do it as much as possible throughout the week.
What I have recently noticed is that my kids watch and mimic every single thing I do. The way my 3 year old talks to her baby dolls is often a reflection of how I speak to her. The same goes for what I eat and how I live my life. Statistics say that if a parent smokes cigarettes, the children in the home will likely smoke as an adult too.
This is also the same for being active. If my children learn the fundamentals of being healthy and staying active as kids, they will likely continue that throughout the adolescent years and into their adult lives. My 7 year old has started wanting to exercise with me and will often ask to run on the treadmill when we are playing in the driveway. I keep our treadmill in the garage because it keeps me from having an excuse not to run.
I am a wimp when it is cold and I do not run when it is raining, so if it is in the garage, I have zero excuses for why I cannot run on a cold or rainy day. We often go for "family walks" after dinner too. We look like a circus sometimes with my 3 year old wanting in and then out of the stroller, the two giant dogs getting tangled leashes or tripping up my 6 year old, but it is family time. It is a time that we talk about our day, we teach our kids about nature and try to find interesting new things to discover. It is also a great time to talk about being healthy and about the benefits of walking and exercising for our growing bodies. It is exercise that allows us uninterrupted time with our precious kids, which is a win win if you ask me. J
Exercising does not have to take an hour to do. I work from home, so when I put my kids down for a nap, I hustle out to the garage to run on my treadmill. It may only be a 10 minute run, or a 20 minute fast paced walk.
Sometimes, I only have time to do a couple sets of pushup and sit ups, but that is better than nothing! A walk around the block can quickly turn into two laps around the block, and then to a mile and so on. Making a conscious effort to walk faster while grocery shopping can be a simple step toward elevating your heart rate and getting your metabolism up for the day. The hardest part about working out for me, is putting on my shoes. Once they are on, I am ready to go.
Make a decision for yourself and for those precious children who ARE watching your every move to be healthy. Take twenty minutes out of your day for you to have a moment for yourself. Exercising is also a GREAT way to release your tensions and anxieties of your day. I often take a moment to run or workout just to clear my head and have a moment to do ME for a minute. That can be so hard for people to do, but it is so beneficial. I promise, if you take twenty minutes to yourself each day, you WILL be a better mother, a better wife, and a better you. Look into different methods of exercise. Reach out to friends, neighbors, or family to see if anyone is also wanting to exercise but needs someone to hold them accountable. Having a partner to walk with around the neighborhood or do a workout video with when the kids go to bed is great! It gives you some time to interact with another adult, vent about your day, and also to be held accountable to doing your workout each day. Start with baby steps and find the right workout or activity for you. If you find pleasure in what you choose, you will likely stick with it.
Kim Mangham, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician at 1601 Keller Parkway in Keller, Texas. She earned her medical degree at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She completed the pediatric residency program at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Her interests include breastfeeding education as well as disease and injury prevention. Dr. Mangham is board certified in pediatrics.