Being a mum is a full time job. Add to that working (be it for someone else or yourself), running a household, taking care of pets, and countless other responsibilities, and you have a recipe for not taking care of yourself.
Add to that the mum guilt that inevitably creeps in when you do steal away for a walk or head out to a yoga class. It can be hard to justify the time away from your child(ren) to prioritise yourself and move your body.
But you should. Here's why.
Exercise can help you be the best mum you can be
There are countless studies about the positive impact of exercise on your mental health. For me personally, I find that I can deal with stress so much better when I exercise regularly. If I've had a bad day at work, I love to blow off some steam by going out for a brisk walk or challenging my body at the gym.
Taking some mental space (and physical space) away from your kids can be really refreshing, and give you a bit of breathing room. Your mental health will seriously benefit not only from the break, but from the physical movement of your body. Exercise releases endorphins, which can make you feel a sense of euphoria (for some) or a sense of contentment.
If you really can't take the time to exercise away from your child(ren), take them along for the ride! Go for a walk with the pram, or do a baby and me workout. There's always a way, so do your research.
It's good for your body
Yes, we can put this in the 'obvious' basket, but it is really good for your body to exercise. It doesn't matter what kind of exercise you do. You could do yoga, pilates, running, walking, swimming or dancing. Whatever you love to do. The key is that you move your body!
You'll be stronger. You'll be fitter. You'll be healthier. Stronger to pick up your child when they need a cuddle. Fitter to run after them when they take off at the park. Healthier to be around for them longer. You won't strain your back when bending down for the thousandth time to scoop up a fussy babe.
You've only got one body, and it's all you have to move around the world in. Take care of it.
Exercising is great role modelling for your kids
Not only is the physical exercise good behaviour to model to your kids, but taking care of yourself is too. When you grow up with a selfless parent, it can be really easy to grow up prioritising others over yourself later in life. By modelling self care, you're teaching your children that they are important and deserve the space and time to take care of themselves.
Because you deserve the space and time to take care of yourself, mama. Teach your kids that self care is important, and you'll be teaching them one of the best lessons they'll ever learn.
You'll get better sleep
I know right, it's too good to be true! But the truth is, you'll sleep better if you exercise. It's not immediately clear why exercise helps us sleep better, but there are a few theories out there. One theory is that it promotes strong circadian rhythms, by exposing ourselves to daylight during the day. There are other theories around the endorphins exercise releases, stress reduction and physical tiredness.
Whatever it is, chances are you've felt the benefits of a good walk or workout class when you go to bed that night. So get out there, move that body and enjoy your awesome night's sleep!
Because YOU are important
This is the big one. You are important, and you are worthy of care. As mothers we so often put everybody else first, for every minute of the day. We neglect our own needs, sometimes holding on when we really need to go to the bathroom or not eating when we're hungry. We're busy, rushing around and taking care of tiny humans who demand what feels like every moment of our day.
You are important, and you deserve to make the time to exercise however you like. So you head to that yoga class, or go out for a walk. Whether you take your kids with you or go it alone, make the most of the 'you-time' and reap the benefits of your exercise.
You won't regret it, I promise. Because when has anybody ever regretted exercised (okay, you MAY regret it when you have serious DOMS, but that's not real regret