By Rennie Aranda – Skinny Gene Nutritionist
While being a mother means caring for others, it may be hard to find time to care for themselves and be mindful of their health. In the midst of karate lessons, soccer games, bake sales, errands, work, laundry, and dinner (just to name a few), moms often find it impossible to spend time taking care of their health. How will everyone manage when mom is too sick to take care of them and their activities? This article will identify some of the barriers that mothers face to good health and how to overcome them. Squeezing more time into a jam-packed day may sound unmanageable, but the best way to look at it is including physical activity and healthful eating into the daily routines that moms already partake in.
Fitting in Physical Activity
Mothers may want to be more active but have to overcome barriers to fit fitness in. Here are ways busy moms can include more physical activity in their day:
- I don’t have enough time. 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (or “cardio”) a week is recommended for adults. This may seem like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. You can break it up into 10 minute increments at a time! (Sound a little better?) Try going for a 10 minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. You can include this during your lunch break, running errands, or as a family activity after dinner. Try parking further to allow more walking in your day or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try bicycling to the store if it’s not too far and the area is safe. As long as it lasts for 10 minutes and gets your heart rate up, it counts!
- It’s hard for me to get motivated to exercise. Buddy up! Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to take a walk with you or join a class together. Chances are, you will be more motivated to exercise if you have a partner to join you. Motivate each other to exercise. Find another mom and set up active play dates with the children so that everyone can join in on the fun!
- I am too tired and have no energy to exercise. Believe it or not, but taking a walk may be better than a nap for boosting energy and fighting fatigue. Research suggests that engaging in regular exercise helps in increasing energy levels in the long run. Your body creates more energy as your activity increases! Fatigue is often caused by dehydration so be sure to keep yourself hydrated!
- I don’t have anyone to watch my children. Take them with you! With all the activities they’re involved in, why not join the fun? Children are encouraged to be engaged in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Practice their sports with them. Play with them outside or at your favorite park. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Play tag. Throw around a football, Frisbee, or baseball. Not only is the exercise good for you and your children, this is also a good time for family bonding!
Healthy Meals for the Whole Family
Don’t forget to include healthful eating in the mix! With more working mothers, there is lower frequency of weekly family meals, which can lead to unhealthy choices such as fast food or TV dinners. It may be hard to get a healthy meal together when there is a lot going on, but here are some tips to include more healthy meals that the whole family can enjoy:
- Healthful eating may be achieved by pre-planning. It is hard to pack meals when you’re busy or have a lot going on. The evening before, try to make it a routine to plan what you will eat the next day. Package snacks into portion sizes and try to make it easy and accessible to put together meals the next day for you and your children.
- Take advantage of weekends or not-so-busy days to cook several meals for the week ahead. Separate meals into containers. Freeze them to be warmed up later to save time during busier days.
- Get the family involved! Make it a fun activity for the whole family to prepare meals together. Kids can partake in tasks such as mixing, sprinkling, washing, and assembling ingredients together. Not only does it save time for you, but it can be a great learning opportunity for the kids as well.
- Plan economical and healthful food shopping. Plan a day to complete all of your grocery shopping for the week. (Again, this ties into planning ahead). Research and choose produce in season, to get the best prices and food quality. Pick healthy items that can be used in multiple dishes.