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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Does Exercise Make You A Better Mom?

I wanted to get up early and exercise, but I hit the snooze button instead.  I had already stayed up too late the night before pounding on my laptop – it was time to bask in a few moments of extra sleep.  After all, with all the demands of work, home, and everything in between, who has time to exercise?

I just can’t add one more thing to my schedule.  It will have to wait until next month or even next year.

But wait a minute.  Before I throw in the towel and give up, I need to be intentional about this.  Maybe a regular exercise routine will improve both my spiritual and physical state.  Maybe it will even make me a better mom.  After all, research tells us that exercise reduces stress.  In fact, it even puts you in a better mood.  And truth be told, I was a little grouchy this morning.  I even snapped at Anna for putting her shoes on too slowly and I yelled at Nick for leaving his lunch box at school.

I’m the perfect candidate for exercise.  But I’m also too busy.  So, what’s the solution?

For starters, I really hate cookie-cutter answers.  Which is why I never buy books that claim things like “10 secrets to making exercise a priority” or “how to manage your health and your job.”  So if you are looking for a 5-step program with some profound answers, please stop reading.  You just might be disappointed in what I have to say.  (Besides, others have written some useful tips on this subject such as Working Moms and Working Out.)

My advice?

You have to find a solution that works for you. 

For me, it means having a plan – and having accountability.  Which is why I signed up to run my first half-marathon this Spring with my niece.  (Hey, I might not finish, but having a tangible goal is going to get me out of the covers and onto the pavement!)  You’ll probably find a different solution. 

I’m convinced that exercise will make us better moms, dads, spouses, friends, professionals, and even writers. The easy part is talking about it. The hard part is doing it!


Erin said...

Ah yes...exercise. I'm famous for setting my alarm to get up early to work out only to reset it at 2am when I wake up for the third time at night.

I've been working hard at losing weight and have been successful food-wise so far. I know I have to start exercising regularly but it's so hard.

I have found that exercisng to a DVD in the evenings works. My kiddos dance along with me too. It gives them something to do and is good for all of us.

Heidiopia said...

Good for you, Susan!! A half is an awesome goal to have-- it will challenge you, push you, and hang over you until you've completed your training for the day. ;-)
Yes, exercise is critical to our physical, emotional, AND spiritual well-being. But I have periods of time where I just have to do the best I can to fit it in around the demands of life. Yesterday, I walked the dog while dinner was in the oven... and that was as good as it got. I was happy I squeezed that in. :)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Exercise changes me. It absolutely helps me be a better mom and a better everything else too. I notice a difference when I've let it go a little too long. I'm also convinced it helps me fight off self-diagnosed SADD.

Half marathon! One of my goals. Is it The Flying Pig? I get so confused where I've lived. I know that's in OH or KY...anyway, can't wait to cheer you on. I truly hope to challenge myself to get there someday. But get a book published.

~ Wendy

Amy Sullivan said...

I always feel better when I exercise. I'm less crabby, more focused, and just happier.

So, how come I can't force myself to make time to do it regularly? I always feel guilty. Ugh, I need to get rid of that guilt.

Amy Sullivan said...

PS I'm a little jealous of your crazy goal. Good for you.

Graceful said...

I just started back running (again!) this week. For a while I was telling myself I am too busy to exercise -- I need all the limited free time I have to write. Then I realized I actually do a lot of creative thinking when I run. When I'm done I dash in the door all sweaty and breathless and jot down ideas and phrases in my notebook. It works (sort of)!

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

You're so right -- on all counts. You do have to find something that works for you.

I'm still working on that...I have seasons of this, and this is a busy season to think about adding something. But you've motivated me!

Bradley J. Moore said...

No question about the benefits of exercise. But I don't think anyone can make it a part of their lives unless they internalize it to some degree as something they value. Plus you have to like it.

I have kept a habit of exercise since I was in college. I am not as consistent as I used to be, but I still get to my little 3-mile jog on the treadmill at least a couple times a week.

Good luck on the half-marathon (yikes!). It's a great way to kick-start a habit, and hopefully you will like it!

Ann Kroeker said...

I did the half-marathon exercise commitment approach one year, and you know, that has continued to work pretty well getting me to work out in winter and early spring! I hope you find that it works well for you. My kids are old enough to run now, too, so the three girls and I train together.

Also, I sometimes do a stairmaster-type machine in the morning, if I'm not planning to run later in the day. I can read while I "climb," so that's when I sometimes do devotional reading or fun reading.

It definitely makes me a better, healthier person...endorphins kick in, blood flows, heart beats strong, muscles strengthen. I've got more endurance for busy days and an all-around better attitude.

mrsgleffter said...

You go Susan!! You can do it!!!
Running is my choice of exercise and is my non-negotiable Saturday morning "mom" time. My kids ask now on Friday nights "Who's watching us while you run tomorrow mommy?" And they want to know how far.

I think they can also tell when I don't run - because I'm a big grouch (the husband can too).

You can finish your 1/2 marathon!! Stick with it!!

Erin MacPherson said...

When I'm not pregnant, exercise DOES make me a better mom. When I am pregnant, it just makes me CRANKY!

Erin MacPherson said...

p.s. congrats on the half-marathon... what a great goal!

Marla Taviano said...

I'm going to do a half-marathon in May too!! (C-bus, not Cleveland) I ran on Saturday (my first time since November). I have my work cut out for me!!