Why You Should Get Over Mommy Guilt and Start Exercising

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GO! GO! GO! It’s a motto many of us moms have come to live by.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of mothers with kids younger than 18 years old are employed, many of whom work to help support their families financially. If this weren’t enough to keep moms busy, there’s also all the parenting responsibilities, such as helping the kids excel in increasingly competitive academic and extracurricular environments.

It is in women to be nurturing and caring for our children. We are taught to put others first. We are also pressured to keep standards high in order to keep the boss happy. Needless to say, it is a heavy load to carry being a working mom. 

But no matter how much things get piled up, the kids still need you, right? “Good moms” step up to the plate for their family and put themselves last, correct?

It’s this commonly shared mentality that has led to what I call “mommy guilt” and as a personal trainer, I see it with many of my clients.

Many of the moms I work with work all day and feel bad for taking time for themselves to do something as simple as an exercise routine. Because of this, along with the hormonal and metabolic changes women experience as they age, many moms struggle with weight issues. 

In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s data, 41.1 percent of women are now obese in the United States. Unhealthy lifestyles also lead to a number of negative effects such as related diseases and depression.

Scary stuff!

This is exactly why moms need to stop putting themselves last, and starting taking time to take care of themselves. Establishing an exercise routine – no matter how simple – is a great place to start.

Not only can exercise help you rid of some of that mommy guilt, but it also provides countless other benefits such as:

  • Increased energy to keep up with our kids’ lives and activities
  • Better quality of life so we can actually enjoy time with them and not be overweight, tired or in pain
  • Increased confidence. Statistics show people who exercise are more confident. In turn, we can instill in them a better attitude and self-esteem to build on in this tough world.
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps boost mood by decreasing feelings of depression, anxiety and stress by increasing brain sensitivity for serotonin and norepinephrine which relieves these mental conditions. Exercise also helps increase the production of endorphins which promotes positive feelings and reduces one’s perception of pain.
  • Assists with weight loss
  • Good for muscles and bones
  • Reduces risk of chronic disease
  • Promotes good skin health
  • Boosts brain health and memory
  • Improves relaxation and sleep
  • Reduces pain
  • Promotes a better sex life

If you are really struggling to find the time to work out on your own, consider making exercise an activity you do with your children.

When my boys were born, I incorporated them into my workouts until they were too heavy or awkward to hold. Now that they are older, I try to engage them in various exercise activities on the weekends. They even take interest in seeing me work out at home. They always ask, “Mom, what are you doing?” and often want to join in with me.

Looking to start an exercise routine? Join the Ochsner Fitness Center today.

I think it is important for parents to take time to exercise not only for their own health, but to lead by example. Obesity rates in children are on the rise and some schools are even taking physical education out of their curriculum.

Kids learn a lot from their parents and look up to them. Moms: I challenge you to love your children and make a positive difference in their lives by getting rid of the “mommy guilt” mentality when it comes to exercise and turn it around to “mommy love.” In doing so, this love is teaching your children the importance of health that will continue to affect them in many ways and for many years to follow.

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