8 Reasons Why All Parents Should Find Time to Exercise
If you’re a busy working parent, you might think, “Find time to exercise? Yeah, right. Have they seen my schedule?” However, skipping your workout can help you get more done — among other benefits.
Fortunately, you don’t have to carve an hour out of each day to hit the gym. Here are eight reasons why all parents should find the time to exercise.
1. It Relieves Stress
Parenting is stressful. Giving birth is much like deciding to let your heart walk around outside your body — you always have something to worry about.
Exercise reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels, which often spike during tense times. An excess of either can cloud your judgment by making you react in panic mode.
Stress also leads to pain, which can make you feel grumpy. A solid sweat session can ease muscle tension enough to make you less of a bear around your children when your back kicks up dickens.
2. It Helps You Think on Your Feet
If you’re a parent, you need to handle situations like your child bathing their pet turtle — in the washing machine — daily. You need to intervene with the swift reaction time of an Olympic basketball player or risk disaster.
Exercise enhances your thinking and judgment skills so that you can react to the unexpected with grace and aplomb. Who says you have to break a sweat when your child reminds you it’s their turn to bring a snack five minutes before the bus arrives?
3. It Promotes Productivity
Before the pandemic hit, you already felt overwhelmed by your workload. Now, you had to add “homeschool teacher” to your resume. It feels like you’ll never get a break.
Exercise boosts productivity by optimizing your mental and physical health and preparing you to meet life’s challenges. Think about the last time you dragged yourself through your day when you felt sick. You probably didn’t accomplish much, but when you feel fit, you can manage more.
4. It Gives You More Energy
Exercise also amps up your energy levels — as long as you don’t overdo it. While you might feel more tired than usual if you decide to train for a marathon, workouts that last less than an hour should give you pep.
Try this experiment the next time you find yourself sitting at your work desk, feeling listless. Stand up and do five to ten jumping jacks. You should feel an immediate surge of energy — unless you are physically exhausted from digging ditches.
Exercise gets the blood flowing to your brain. The oxygen lights up your neurons like a cold splash of water when you first awaken.
5. It Helps Control Your Weight
As a parent, you might find the extra pounds creep on quickly. You don’t want your child’s last lingering chicken nugget to go to waste. Over time, the calories from those “just a taste” moments add up to unwanted pounds.
Exercise burns calories, helping you to control your weight. A single 30-minute jog can burn between 200 - 500 calories — enough to make up for that handful of crackers you found lingering at the bottom of your child’s lunch kettle.
6. It Protects Your Heart
Heart disease doesn’t discriminate — according to the CDC, it remains the number one killer of both men and women across racial and ethnic lines in the United States. You don’t want a stroke or heart attack to keep you from caring for your kiddos.
Exercise is one of the best ways to protect your heart. Your ticker is a muscle, and movement makes it stronger. Plus, you keep factors like high blood pressure in check, especially when you reduce or eliminate your saturated fat, tobacco and alcohol consumption.
7. It Eases Depression and Anxiety
You’ve seen the commercials — depression and anxiety keep you from fully participating in your kids’ lives. You want to be there for milestones like their first recital, not curled up and unable to move from bed.
Exercise promotes positive mental health in many ways. It raises serotonin levels by triggering the release of tryptophans in your blood. This critical neurochemical influences your mood — if you take prescription medications, they may maximize this substance’s bioavailability.
Working out also lowers cortisol levels. An excess of this stress hormone contributes to feelings of anxiety — fitness lets you symbolically “flee” inescapable conditions like work stress, restoring homeostasis.
8. Keeps You Alive for Vital Milestones
You want to see your baby walk down the aisle to collect their diploma or take their spouse’s hand in marriage. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that those who take at least 8,000 steps daily decrease their mortality risk from all causes.
Those who took fewer than 4,000 steps per day had a mortality rate of 76.7 out of 1,000 over a decade. However, the numbers dramatically dropped to only 6.9 per 1,000 among those who took 8,000 or more steps each day.
All Parents Should Find Time to Exercise — Here’s Why
If you are a busy parent, you might think you lack time to exercise. However, the benefits above illustrate why you should find time to sweat each day.