By Kristin Carroll
As Mother’s Day fast approaches, there so many special things that moms look forward to:breakfast in bed, homemade cards from the kids, a nice spring bouquet or even personalized jewelry from the hubby. While those gifts are thoughtful and always appreciated, most moms just want to spend the day with their loved ones. So this year, I’d like to challenge you to forego the chocolates and picture frames and encourage a different kind of gift that also gives back to those you love – the gift of your health and well-being.
Mother’s Day marks the kick-off of National Women’s Health Week (May 11-17): a week designed for women across the nation to make their health a top priority and take simple steps to live safer and healthier lives. Brought to you by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, the theme this year is “It’s Your Time”, encouraging women to take time for their health and receive regular checkups, eat healthier, get enough sleep, manage their stress, and stay active with fitness and exercise.
As many busy moms know, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of work and family life. Between work, cooking and cleaning, making lunches, paying bills, shuttling the kids to where they need to be, spending quality time with your spouse, and absolutely everything in between, you might laugh at the thought of “me” time. So often, we as mothers, try to do the impossible. We try to be everything to everybody, putting the needs of our husband and children above our own. But as a result, our health and fitness suffers, leaving us to be no good to anyone. If you’re guilty of neglecting one of the most important people in your family, pull out that to-do list and add yourself back at the top. Not only will you reap the benefits, but so will everyone around you. Here’s why:
An Active Mom is a Happy Mom
Besides the obvious physical benefits, activity and exercise can have a profound effect on your mood and overall state of mind. Whether it’s a 5-mile morning run or a brisk walk around the block, exercise has been found to stimulate the body’s production of endorphins and increase serotonin, making you feel happier and more elated, while also decreasing cortisol and other stress hormones that bring about feelings of anxiety and sadness. Sun, fresh air, and nature are also critical mood enhancers, so activities outside are especially encouraged. If you’ve been waiting to dust off that old tennis racket or try out your first Zumba class, indulge in the opportunity. The activity will serve as a stress-reliever and give your roaming mind a rest! You’ll be beaming happiness at home, and rest assured, your family will notice. Remember, happy moms lead happy families.
A Better Mood
Mom Smarts and Stamina: Sun Up, Sun Down
Moms are expected to be the Energizer Bunny: going, going, going all day long. Although we sometimes feel like robots (and our families think we are at times) we eventually wear ourselves thin and get run down with fatigue. To keep up the stamina to answer our kids’ many questions, referee sibling rivalries, and play 17 games of Duck Duck Goose, exercise and proper nutrition are vital. Thirty minutes of daily exercise can keep our energy levels high all day long, and proper nutrition can build a healthy immune system that wards off germs. In addition, exercise can aid a good night’s sleep and keep our mind sharp and focused. A mom’s job is tough enough without being sleep-deprived. Exercise will tire the body (preventing tossing and turning) and quiet the mind, allowing moms to be refreshed each morning to tackle a new day.
Moms are Needed at Every Milestone
No matter the age, whether you’re 3 or 30, everyone needs their mom. One of the best gifts you can give your child is your health and longevity to assure that you’ll be there for all of his/her life’s milestones. This alone should ease your “self-indulgent” guilt and make taking care of yourself a top priority. Regular physical activity has a variety of health benefits that work to increase your health and longevity including: helping the circulatory system deliver oxygen and nutrients around the body, reducing the rate of bone loss, lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, and staving off Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, dementia and a variety of other cognitive disorders. Assure your family that you’re taking all of the necessary measures to be there for them as long as possible – it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
Moms are Role Models – In Every Sense
Children watch and imitate their parents, looking to them as role models. With 1/3 of children and adolescents in the United States being overweight, parents have a duty to make activity and nutrition a priority in their family. Moms have an opportunity to be the drivers of overall activity and participation in our households, so we need to practice what we preach! This does not mean simply signing up our child for a club sport while we watch. A recent study on child participation by Active Network and SGMA (Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association) shows that kids with active parents are more likely to start participating in activities because they know it’s important to their families. The study also found that as the number of parents’ activities increase, so do the number of kids’. From stocking kitchen pantries with healthy food to planning family bike rides, parents need to instill good health practices and a passion for fitness. Our duty as parents calls us to.
So this Sunday, consider lacing up those running shoes and kicking off National Women’s Health Week with a bang. Better yet, make your new health journey a family affair! Active.com is the perfect place to get started. The world’s largest online directory of activities has over 380 Mother’s Day Walks/Runs nationwide and counting, so you’re sure to find one near you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a serious fitness buff or a beginner, Active.com has activities for any level of fitness. Register your family, look up health, fitness, and nutrition tips, or pose any questions to the thriving Active.com community – it’s all there in one-stop-shop.
This Mother’s Day feel EXTRA good about yourself, your role in your family, and the amazing life you have ahead of you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there - stay active!
About The Author:
Kristin Carroll is the vice president of Corporate & Consumer Marketing at Active Network. Kristin is Active’s chief evangelist and is passionate about great technology that powers the world’s activities and connects people to things they LOVE to do. She’s that mom chasing work deadlines, 2 beautiful girls ages 4 and 2, and her youth. Ask her, “What’s Your Active?” and she’ll reply, “Everything and anything outside!”