You know exercising is good for your body, but more recent research supports that it also helps boost your mood and can help manage depression and anxiety.
Sharing a workout with others can also establish and nurture important relationships- especially when navigating the formative years of your children’s lives.
Sharing a Sweat Session Postpartum
Raising children is a privilege. It can also be a very isolating transition for many mothers. Particularly postpartum, women who are susceptible to depression, anxiety, or feelings of isolation can benefit greatly from exercising in numbers.
Making connections with other new moms who are working to get into shape provides a wonderful network of support on many levels. In organized groups, moms can exchange ideas and share concerns with regard to parenting issues, as well as those related to reclaiming their bodies.
What You Can Do
Check with your local recreation center, fitness club, hospital, or college campus for fitness classes or programs that address your interests. Parenting magazines and local Mommy and Me classes often list group fitness classes for new parents and many even offer a group discount.
Losing Weight and Making Friends
When working toward a similar goal, achieving it is can be so much sweeter when the success is shared. Reinforcement from others with similar goals of weight loss, building endurance, or increasing muscle reinforces more than the need to meet at the gym- it builds intimate friendships while pumping iron. Sharing a rack of weights with a girlfriend provides a platform for sharing dinner recipes or strategies for handling homework woes. The time spent together working out can ignite creativity and foster your relationship.
What You Can Do
Consider joining an organized team or group workout. There are many options that facilitate exercise in groups, helping to build meaningful relationships, and encouraging positive connections may just keep you coming back for more. Body sculpting classes, water aerobics, stroller workouts, and beyond, if you can find the right environment and meet like people in the process, you may be more inclined to lace up your shoes and look forward to participating in physical activity. Exercise can absolutely be social and fun!
Exercise as Therapy
Increasing your physical activity generally increases your mental outlook. Exercise raises endorphins, promoting that “feel good” feeling, thus elevating mood. In times of stress, sadness, or uncertainty, even twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise can improve your attitude. Sharing this time with a friend increases the benefit, allowing for some much needed adult interaction amidst a child-centered day. Increase your happiness with physical activity, while hashing out the stress of life with an exercise partner.
What You Can Do
Invite a friend over for your own private Yoga class during baby’s naptime. Allow your toddlers to socialize or work on a simple art project together while moms roll out the mats. If your friend has exercise items (weights, jump rope, even a hula hoop!), ask her to bring them over and add to what you have to create your own “mini gym” workout together. Get creative! Between you, alternate coming up with new routines and exercises each week.
The Best You Can Be
Life is static and uncertain- especially with children. We never can predict the next challenge or elation waiting for us around the corner. The one thing we can control is our attitude and its influence on others. Exercising with friends not only improves our fitness, but it improves our outlook, as well. Try using regular exercise dates to increase your happiness and build your social support network for the parenting journey ahead. The fitness will follow.