Benefits of Exercise that Aren't Physical
A lot of moms come to me because they want to "get their bodies back." Looking your best is nice and sometimes it's true that when we look good, we feel good. I think it's also important to point out that the benefits of exercise go so much deeper than appearance.
Here are 7 science-backed ways that exercise can improve your life:
Increase self esteem - One study of women aged 29-50 found that a simple walking group had the power to increase self esteem, the intrinsic kind that isn't dependent on anyone else's approval.
It may help reduce symptoms of postpartum depression - 1 in 7 mothers suffer from postpartum depression a debilitating condition that can cause anxiety, sadness, disinterest, sleeplessness and so much more (source). If you think you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression talk to your doctor right away, Postpartum Support International is also a great resource.
Regain interest in sex - Something that I believe is under-discussed when talking about motherhood is the strain that it can put on your relationship and sex life. Exercise can help you get back in touch with your body and lover. Here is another great resource for improving your sex life post-babe.
Improve mood - this study demonstrated that exercise can help regulate negative emotions and also points to a lot of other research on the topic.
5. Community Okay, this one's not backed by science, but if you are exercising with other moms, you are bound to connect. My Mama & Me classes have helped me build an amazing support system of moms who live in my area who are going through the same ups and downs.
6. Reduce tiredness I can't imagine a single mother in the world who would not desire more energy in their day-to-day life.
7. Reduce the symptoms of anxiety and other mood disorders. Anxiety affects 18.1% of Americans and does not discriminate based on your parental status. Like depression, you shouldn't see exercise as a cure all. If you think you are suffering from anxiety, go see your doctor, stat.