As a parent, it is so easy to feel guilty about everything, especially when it comes to taking time out for yourself. Let’s talk about the importance and benefits of regular exercise for parents.
I know from conversations I have had with many parents that exercise can feel like selfish time taken away from family. As a father of three little ones, I completely understand this mindset! At certain phases of life it does feel more difficult to get away. But it’s important to understand that time spent away from your family to workout is NOT something to feel guilty about. There are so many benefits to regular exercise for parents, read on to learn how making time to workout actually benefits your kids as well, in many direct and indirect ways.
This is a very important mental shift that must be made if regular exercise is going to be incorporated joyfully into your routine as a parent. Try to think of all these benefits when you are carving out time to sweat and work on yourself physically.
There will hopefully be at least one thing I talk about here that will motivate you!
How your family benefits when you exercise regularly:
- Regular exercise makes us better parents. Parents who are happy with themselves are happier people, which of course trickles down to how we treat our kids! When we have more energy and feel good physically, we have the ability to cope better with the difficulties of parenting. An investment in your mental health benefits everyone around you.
- Exercise increases our energy levels. Kids LOVE running around and being active! By working out regularly, you ensure that you can keep up with them and increase the quality of the time you spend together. Instead of sitting your kids down in front of the TV or tablet because you are too tired to do anything else with them, you will have the cardio, the energy, and the physical ability to move without injuring yourself and will be able to keep up with whatever they want to do instead! This is a great feeling as a parent.
- Exercise encourages your kids to start good habits. Kids watch everything you do so carefully! If they know their parents think regular physical activity is a good idea, chances are they will too. Besides the immediate benefits of reducing the possibility of childhood obesity, this attitude will help your family stay healthy for years and years to come, and is a wonderful investment in your children’s health as well as your own.
- Exercise helps you age more gracefully. I know all parents want to maintain their physical health as they age, but they don’t always realize that the only way to do that is to put in the time and sweat NOW. If you want to be able to keep up with your kids into your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, you must consider your time working out now as an investment in that future. Doing what you can to remain physically able as you age is a wonderful gift to give your adult children too.
How You Benefit from Regular Exercise
Of course, we are focusing mostly on how exercise benefits you (and your kids) as a parent, but let’s not forget that exercise is important just as a human being too. Exercise increases the health of your muscles and bones, reduces your risk of chronic illness, helps your brain health and memory, helps you sleep, and so many other things! It does not take much to see how all these benefits are a worthwhile investment in your future for both your own and your family’s sake.
I hope you are starting to see that all the benefits listed above are worth the investment NOW, and the relatively small amount of time they really take in the grand scheme of things. Look at it this way: there are 168 hours in a week. If you take three 45-minute blocks out for yourself every week, that’s less than three hours! It doesn’t seem like much, does it? And three hours a week is more than enough time to reach achievable fitness goals that will greatly benefit your family.
I find the analogy of the safety talk given on airplanes to be a helpful one. They always say in case of emergency, put your own oxygen mask on before you help your child with theirs. It feels counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t we help our kids first? It doesn’t seem to make sense. But the truth is if you don’t help yourself first, you won’t be able to help anyone else. The same applies to your own health and the health of your family: taking time away from them working out is actually selfless and loving, not selfish as it might appear at first glance! I hope this post has encouraged you to see health as a parent in a different way.
If you are unsure how to incorporate regular exercise into your life as a parent, we would love to help! Check out our services to see what we have to offer! Follow @strongerwithbelal for regular fitness tips for busy parents.