Exercising daily actually increases our energy levels dramatically. This combats the tiredness and loss of control we feel as mothers. As energy levels increase, our capacity to perform physical tasks like floors, dishes, and chasing the baby grows. We do more and tire less. We start to lose weight, and that makes carrying around our own bodies easier (and more fun!). Our muscles get stronger, and we ache less hauling around car seats and groceries.
The endorphins that pump through us as we work out are chemically responsible for mental calmness, peace and well-being. Endorphins are hormones that are released as move our bodies. Think of them as the “feel good” chemicals that pump through your body after a workout. It’s the “high” we experience. Those who are physically active tend to deal more rationally with stress, see stress as opportunity, despair less, are less quick to anger. There is much greater patience and discipline in the mind of a physically active mother- and this means less yelling, frustration and guilt. Most of the participants on NBC’s Biggest Loser go off of depression meds because of their workout routines.
Working out gives you confidence, and this may be the top need we have as mothers. Showing yourself that you are consistent, strong and disciplined will help you sense the power and purpose inside of you and your children. You will feel less guilty about your mothering and concentrate instead your unique talents and capacities! The women around in you in classes or neighborhoods will see your hard work and admire and praise your efforts. Your self respect will sky rocket- and so will your abilitiy to serve your family and others.
Women who get thirty minutes a day of active movement fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, wake up with more energy and tend not to need to nap. Usually women who have an exercise routine become more organized, and naturally make sleep more of a priority. With deeper sleep and greater energy we also tend to be more creative and hopeful as mothers! We can finally have excitement for teaching our children and generate more inspiration on how to do it.
Working out trains our minds to rethink mundane tasks, and there are a lot of those in motherhood. Running the track, stepping and weight lifting are repetitive movements and release endorphins. We associate the “high” of endorphins with the exercise and want to come back to the exercise, and we don’t see it as boring anymore. This will help you with your daily routines. What once seemed pointless and boring, like floors or laundry, will take on more purpose and energy. You’ll feel the high from moving our bodies and moving your home toward peace. We’ll have more desire and power to do it again the next day.
Any number of physical activities qualify as mid-level exercise, from a brisk walk to Zumba to P90X. Garden work, lawn care and house cleaning chores like scrubbing walls and floors definitely count. Trust the talk test- if your heart rate is so high you can't talk at all, it's too high. If you can gossip, your heartrate is too low. Break a sweat and break the patterns of the mommy body blues!