As parents. our kids come first and more often than not, we forget our own needs. However, when we really think about it, it is hard to deny that the captain of the ship (i.e – the parent, yes YOU) must also be taken care of.
Parenting is tough and investing a few minutes to get our juices flowing is something that can benefit not only ourselves, but everyone around us too, including our children.
But hey, who am I to talk? We wanted to put this to the test and found two mums who manage to incorporate regular exercise into their lives as parents. What motivates them? What benefits do they get from exercising? Read their insights and tips below.
Meet Maria, mum to two boys ages three and seven.
Maria did not exercise before having kids, only occasionally and “to lose weight before the wedding,” she muses. She began exercising three years after giving birth, as a distraction. She explained how two one-hour-long sessions per week already make a difference in her life.
“It is MY hour..I always find myself in a good mood after I have been to the gym.”
“It is a break from my daily routine and from being called every five minutes for something or another. It is MY hour! I typically arrive at the gym after 8 pm and I would usually be too tired to think. So I only do cardio-treadmill and cross-trainer, as other things would require my mental input. Anyway, I always find myself in a good mood after I have been to the gym. ”
Being a mum, Maria chooses to get away at an hour that least affects her children’s routine and therefore enjoys Cynergi due to its availability at late hours. Maria still gets “mummy-guilt” for leaving her kids at bedtime, when they would prefer to have her near them. It is a dilemma surely most mums would face. But she also recognizes that by demonstrating the importance of self-care is the best way to teach children to take care of themselves as adults.
“I feel that seeing her mother going to the gym, wanting to be healthy and taking care of herself makes her want to do the same for herself.” says Simone S, another mum who values her time exercising at Cynergi.
Meet Simone, mum to a girl aged 9.
Simone did not exercise before becoming a mum and started going to the gym when her daughter was four.
“If she needed me, all she literally had to do was shout – I was just down the corridor!”
“After becoming a mother, I was getting burnt out with work and taking care of my daughter. As she grew up, I began to feel that I needed to do something to help myself de-stress. She was also beginning to enjoy making friends when out at a playing field, so when I discovered that Cynergi had a play area for kids, it motivated me to try it out. If no-one could take care of her, I would use the play area – she enjoyed it and I knew she was safe. If she needed me, all she literally had to do was shout – I was just down the corridor!”
Cynergi proved ideal for Simone also because there’s free underground parking, a priceless commodity when you have precious little time. Furthermore, she enjoys the cool, well-equipped gym and finds the personal trainers knowledgeable, accommodating and encouraging.
Simone kept up her sessions at the gym for an hour, two or three times a week. She mainly does weights, as her aim was to tone up without losing weight. She works with a personal trainer, who she confesses is present partly in order to get the most out of her sessions and partly to motivate her not to miss her appointments at the gym!
“For me, it’s not just about looking good, but also about my mental well-being.”
“My biggest dilemma before I started exercising was feeling that I must spend as much time with my daughter as possible. I felt that, if I used any of that available time on myself, I was being selfish or neglecting my daughter in some way,” says Simone. “So I try to organise my exercise sessions when my daughter has another activity. If she is with me, I explain that mum needs an hour for herself and that after we would do something fun together, and I feel I am teaching her important values about taking care of oneself.“
She adds, “I enjoy making time for myself in a way which is beneficial to my health and well-being in general. Exercising makes me feel great about myself. I feel physically fit and mentally positive. For me, it’s not just about looking good, but also about my mental well-being.”
Simone adds that when she skips a week of exercise, she ends up feeling lethargic and concluded that exercise actually gives her the energy she needs to keep going. “All this naturally benefits my child too,” she states.
As mums we have every reason in the world not to exercise, but if you are tempted to go for it, just do it.
Exercise can do so much more than shed baby weight. Getting out of the house and away from the kids offers you a break, plus exertion actually releases “feel-good hormones” that release stress and help you sleep.
Click here for more information on Cynergi Health and Fitness Club and how you can benefit from the Kids Club Creche (for children aged between 2 and 12 years) which is open everyday from 8am to 8pm. Activities include arts and crafts, games, ice-cream treats, bowling, cinema and lots more. The Kids Club is located in the reception area of Cynergi.