As a mother, it’s easy to focus on caring for your children instead of your own health and fitness. There are some days you may feel as if you hear your child say “Mom I need help,” at least 100 times. Motherhood is exhausting and some days the idea of working out is just too much. So focus on one healthy habit each day. It’s so important to make yourself a priority, because when you do you’ll be a better role model and mother for your children.
Try to do at least one or more of these five activities:
Start small and go from there. Health & fitness is a lifelong goal, it’s not about ‘figuring it all out’ in one day, one week, or even one year.
1. Schedule a Physical Exam:
You might think that a physical exam is unnecessary if you are a healthy adult. However, a physical ensures you have your immunizations up to date. Your doctor can also screen for cancer, (skin, breast, ovarian, cervical, etc.) heart conditions, diabetes, cholesterol levels and other chronic diseases. Additionally, you can discuss with your physician mental health issues, such as stress or depression, and if necessary you can be referred to specialists.
According to Women’s Day Magazine, exercise has 10 benefits for women other than weight loss. Many of these benefits are related to your health, such as reducing your risk for cancer or minimizing stress, depression and anxiety. If you exercise with a friend it can also be a great way to socialize and meet new people. As an added bonus, many fitness centers such as the YMCA provide free child care while you work out.
3. Eat Healthy:
According to experts, among the many benefits of eating healthy foods are weight management, improved mood, prevention of diseases and illness, greater energy levels and increased longevity. Although it can be difficult to eat healthy foods when you are on the go or focusing on caring for your children, it is worth making the effort.
It is important to note that women have different dietary needs than men. In general, women have more fat and less muscle than men, which means women require fewer calories. During their reproductive years, women need more folic acid to decrease the risk of birth defects. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis (80% of people diagnosed with this disease are women), a disease that causes weak bones. One way to increase the strength of your bones is to eat foods with calcium.
This is a too-often overlooked but critical part of women’s health and fitness. It is hard for many moms to find a moment to relax, but doing so can help relieve stress. Relaxing can be as simple as deep breathing for five minutes. Some other ways to unwind are to listen to music, read, meditate, yoga, take a bath and write in a journal. Another benefit of relaxing is it can improve your sleep at night and help with insomnia.
Here’s an area of health and fitness many moms struggle with. Most moms forgo sleep in an effort to accomplish all of the different tasks of the day, which results in going to bed late or waking up early. One in four women has trouble falling or staying asleep, or both. Not receiving enough sleep can result in increased accidents, weight gain, difficulty concentrating and getting sick.
The Mayo Clinic recommends adults receive between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. When you get the proper amount of sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines that fight infections, resulting in a stronger immune system. Sleep also helps you to maintain mental and physical energy along with improving your memory.
Create Healthy Habits
If you try at least one of the above activities, you might find creating healthy habits easier than you thought. If you make an effort to incorporate it into your life you will create better health and fitness that will benefit you and your family.
[Revised from an article originally published on Signature Moms.]