In recent years, I've come to really understand what being healthy really means. I've also learned that having a great looking body doesn't necessarily mean a well functioning body. I've come to the point where healthy means balance and peace.
Balance and peace, what does that even mean? It may mean something different to you and the mom beside you, but it's yours .
There is a lot going on for the everyday day mom. There are a ton of transitions going on constantly and there are days where we feel like we're pouring from an empty cup. Some of those days, we are pouring from that empty cup.
When it comes to exercise, we need this same balance but there is no balance where this is concerned. We have become a society where a workout isn’t a workout if we haven’t killed ourselves by exercising at a high intensity. This is doing us way more harm than good!
I’ve been working with moms for a long time and I see these same moms 2-3 times a week. These moms are stressed! They’re waking up through the night with children and babies so sleep is broken, they are constantly on the move without breaks and taking care of the emotional needs of little ones (which is damn hard sometimes!) We are overworked and overscheduled.
The we throw intense exercise on a stressed out body. Sure, exercise has been shown to reduce stress but when it comes to a mom who is always stressed emotionally and physically especially in that first year postpartum, this is doing her no good. Infact, it’s throwing her balance way off.
When our bodies are stressed, we go into survival mode. Our stress hormone (cortisol) kicks into overdrive so that we can function and get through the day. If we haven’t had a solid sleep, our bodies will produce cortisol so that we can get through the day.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between exercise from stress and life stress. It had no idea that we’re trying to do a little good by working out. It knows that it’s tired.
What’s happening now, your body is becoming unbalanced. We become sick more often, we crave salty foods, we have higher energy levels in the evening when we should be winding down, we experience high levels of fatigue all day, and our thought process becomes scattered. Your Central Nervous System is taxed.
Yet, we have this “no excuses” mentality and we are literally draining our own battery.
If you’ve been up through the night with your little one, do yourself a favour and skip the intense workout and go for a walk instead. Walking is a much better option for reducing stress and will help to restore your body’s balance.
Stress management and mental health is a huge focus of mine. Mom’s are more stressed out than ever and more isolated than ever. We have less help with the care of our children and often feel less support because of the distance.
Let’s face it, we’re really not taking such great care of ourselves and we’re doing too much and our bodies are taking a hit. Sure, self-care is everywhere and there are a million different people telling us how to do it but we need to do better for ourselves than take a bath or get our hair cut. We need to go easy on ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to slow down, get rest, eat well, and really learn to love our baby bodies. We need to not be perfect and recognize that f’ing up is apart of the mothering deal. We are going to fight with our partners because raising young kids really sucks sometimes, we will go to the drive through because we are too damn tired to make dinner, and we are going to go to bed before cleaning up because we don’t have the energy to give a shit.
My point, don’t add fuel to the fire if you don’t have to because it’s really not needed. Trust me. It’s more important for you to function well and starting with an exercise program that encourages that will be more helpful to you in the long run. If you’re doing an exercise program that leaves you tired and sore, what good is that for anyone? Really?
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Terrell Baldock, Personal Trainer, Core Training Speccialist Nutrition Coach, Birth & Postpartum Educator, and an Expert in Women's Wellness is on a mission to empower moms of all ages & stages to take control of their health. She wants to put an end to the confusion around exercise during pregnancy and helps new moms recover during the earliest stages of postpartum which allows new moms to transition to their new role with ease.