The Benefits of Exercising for Motherhood
Up until the moment a woman becomes a mother she has one main job - to keep herself alive!
When her first child is born that job changes and a natural shift occurs. For the first time in her life she is no longer the most important thing.
She is now also in charge of keeping this little human alive who relies on her for their safety, warmth and health.
The selflessness it takes to become a mother is the most incredible but challenging change any female will go through in their lives. And all too often, along the way, us mama’s lose the importance of self-care and fail to recognise just how hard it is to look after a human (or a few humans) when we are not looking after ourselves too.
So as our babies begin to grow up and we decide it’s time to return to exercise, just how beneficial is it for motherhood?
Let’s have a closer look.
I don’t think anyone can prepare you for just how physically demanding having children is. (Not to mention the exhaustion of sleepless nights, sick babies and ever changing routines to add to it!)
I teach people to lift weights for a living and even I was shocked at just how physically demanding motherhood is.
Carrying car seats, hooshing buggies in and out of the boot, walking around the house rocking a breastfeeding baby in one arm, running after toddlers, carrying them around supermarkets because they've decided they no longer want to walk, climbing to the highest point of the playgrounds with them, picking up their toys off the ground 12 million times a day. The list goes on….
Most working mothers go from a full time job where they might not have to lift a single object ALL day to literally lifting objects all day long. It makes sense why so many mothers have sore backs, bad posture, and niggly joints.
During pregnancy we grow a basketball sized tummy. We need strong muscles to support it.
After having our babies we are constantly feeding, cuddling and carrying kids for years on end. We need strength in our upper back to support this and prevent bad/rounded posture.
Strength training also plays a huge part in strengthening the pelvic floor which can become weak during pregnancy/childbirth.
Without strength injury becomes inevitable.
Being weak and/or overweight can prevent us from being able to keep up with the physical demands of our children and will eventually lead to exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy as parents and partners.
While physical strength is so important and somewhat obvious, mental strength is a hidden benefit of strength training that is often missed.
As a personal trainer and mother myself, the development of mental strength in mothers is one my favourite ‘transformations’ to watch unfold in our gym.
To see someone enter the gym fragile, totally lost, and not quite sure of their role anymore after years of caring for their kids and transform into a strong, resilient woman is just the most amazing thing to witness.
By becoming physically stronger we become mentally stronger.
We build strength and confidence which has a ripple effect into our lives as mothers.
Our kids grow up watching a mother who is strong in body and mind and cares about her health.
Instead of just wishing this for our kids, we must do it for ourselves and become their role model. Lead by example for your kids and become the best version of yourself so that they will too in turn.
Becoming a parent is hard, let’s face it. The hardest bloody thing in the world. Our mental health suffers. We lose our own identity, our energy, and many become tired, depressed and some even suicidal.
Exercise causes a release of endorphins (the happy hormone) and is the best medicine available for low moods and depression. The first thing people note when they start an exercise regime is just how much energy they have and how good it makes them feel.
Not only that but it's a great way to make friends and meet other parents and to regain that identity we so often lose along the way. Many of our clients will say the most important part about training for them is having that ‘me time’ to step out of their role as ‘mom’ for one hour to be ‘me’ again. Strong, unbreakable, confident, empowered ‘ME’. It is one of the best things we can do for our mental health, full stop.
Here is what some of our members say about the importance of training to them:
“Training is of top priority in my life. Training fills my own cup first and allows the world to benefit from the overflow. It is for my body and my mind and both of these need to be looked after allowing me to look after all my family.”
“Blocking off this time in the family calendar helps. Prioritising the time like a doctors appointment. Also realising you are not needed always and it is better for you to go and do something for yourself.”
Because of training I have a much more ‘can do’ attitude. I can lift the buggy, bike, scooter and child if needed. I can carry all the bags to the beach and piggy back a child on my back. I am strong. I am able. If I can deadlift 95kg I can. It is empowering for me to feel strength, confidence and ability in my body. Also the calm training brings to my mind helps bring calm to my daily life.”
“Training gives me an hour for me... I don’t have to think it make decisions. I have nobody calling for me or relying on me for that hour.”
“I always leave in a great mood and it shapes my whole day.
I’m a good mum, boss, colleague, wife and friend because of the mental headspace going to Nikafit gives me.
I’m fitter and healthier then ever and it sets a good example of that lifestyle for my kids.”
Believe me guys, I know how hard it can be to find the time to ‘fit it in’. I have 2 babies under 3 and I sometimes have to line up two babysitters just to get an hour in the gym, but I make it happen because it is worth it, every single time.
Starting can be the hardest part. Find something you enjoy, do it with a friend, and preferably seek the help of professionals.
If you need any help or advice along the way please reach out. I’m always happy to help in anyway; firstname.lastname@example.org
From one mother to another,