Mother's Day is a day where we can show that extra bit of appreciation for our moms and everything they do. When we say thank you to our moms, it's so easy to recall the numerous times our mothers stayed up late with us when we were sick, or picked us up from hundreds of team practices or music recitals. I'm not saying dads don't do this, too, but you have your own day later in the year -- let's focus on the women in our lives today.
What may not be as easy to recognize is the substantial yet subtle role mothers play in modeling healthy habits for their kids. Most mothers help their children build a healthy lifestyle using those magic motherly negotiating skills.
Take my mom, for example. My mom was a great role model -- especially when it came to physical activity, eating healthy and thinking positively. She would help "feed" me with optimism and encouragement, even though she was strict at times about rules and household chores.
Growing up I can recall my mother insisting that my siblings and I eat breakfast and dinner at home as a family. This meant we would see how my mother prepared the meals to show us how those healthy meals were created. She also rewarded me and my siblings with an extra 30 minutes tacked on to our bedtime if we were outside playing versus sitting on the couch watching television.
I have to say this was one of the best negotiating tactics my mother ever used. I would stay outside and run around with my friends as long as I possibly could. (I might have even gotten grounded a couple of times because I stretched that extra time' a little too far '- "Come on mom, just one more game/lap/point/jump!" was essentially my catchphrase growing up.)
Not only is it important for mothers to talk the talk and help instill these values into their children, but they need to be prepared to walk the walk. In order to lead by example, moms need to learn how to make time for themselves. Many mothers are so busy taking care of their family they neglect their own well-being. In order to be at your best in every aspect of life, you need to invest in yourself first!
There are a few key factors I often hear from busy moms who say they can't make it to the gym, even if they'd like to. The top reasons are they don't have the time due to a busy schedule, they don't know what they're doing or they're intimidated by the thought of lifting weights. Believe it or not, these reasons are actually popular amongst most people, not just moms.
According to a recent survey done by GoodLife Fitness and ParticipACTION, four out of 10 Canadians are intimidated to go to the gym and nearly two of those four (19 per cent) find the experience to be very intimidating. For those who are new to the gym or are thinking about going but are feeling the familiar tinge of intimidation, I have some advice to help get you through it.
Start out by going to a Group Fitness Class.
Fitness Classes is amazing because you are in the camaraderie of a group setting while being instructed move-by-move what to do. There are options for all fitness levels and you can pick a class that caters to your individual taste. There are classes like yoga that focus on mind and body connection, classes that focus on strength training like BODYPUMP and even classes tailored specifically for women and their bodies like NEWBODY. It's a social experience that's meant to be fun and friendly. And it's great because it is workout is planned out for you and it effectively maximizes your time.
Strength training for women.
Time and time again I have heard women say they don't want to weight train because they don't want to bulk up. Research tells us that women who don't strength train lose about five pounds of muscle every decade of adult life. That leads to a lower metabolism and a gradual increase in fat weight (about 15 pounds per decade), as well as a less fit, firm and attractive appearance. So, in most cases, the added muscle simply replaces the muscle previously lost through lack of use. And women who start strength training typically lose twice as much fat as they gain muscle.
Consider investing in a Personal Trainer
We make investments to have our cars checked regularly or pay large sums of money to ensure we have straight teeth (whether for cosmetic or medical reasons) -- so why wouldn't we consider investing in our bodies, too? For those who are new to the gym or for those who are short on time a certified and educated personal trainer is a great option where you can learn the foundations of fitness in a safe and effective manner. A trainer can also teach you the basic primal movements that will set you up for long-term success and give you the confidence you may be lacking. I highly suggest this if you're feeling some intimidation. For me, personal training sessions are a way to ensure I get into the gym and do my weights and not waste time. Personally working with a personal trainer is one of the best decisions I've made and the payoffs have been extraordinary.
There are endless mental benefits of exercise.
Getting exercise, whether it be your own routine or participating in a class, creates a number of benefits. It's a stress release. It provides an escape and gives you a mental break. Any busy person, especially a busy mom, with so much on the go can appreciate that. So no matter if it's going for a walk, connecting with a local charitable run, taking the kids out for a bike ride or getting to the gym, get that physical activity in. I assure you the quality of life you live will be that much more enjoyable and rewarding.
So, moms, I urge you to invest a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes a day for yourself to get that much-needed exercise. It will restore your energy, boost your confidence and will have you feeling fabulous. This will shine through and you'll be able to be the best mom you can be. Beauty comes from the inside out and when you're feeling healthy and happy your radiance will positively affect all aspects of your life.
So once again, I would like to say thank you, mom, for taking care of yourself and for showing Pauline, Michael and me how to enjoy a happy and healthy life.
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While we don't live in the same town, we do make an effort to go to spin class or take a run together whenever we meet up... but since she's a triathlete who competes in world championship events, I typically end up gasping for air as she does all the talking. :) It works for us.
My mother and I have always had a strong bond and connection through dance and fitness. I was three years old when she signed me up for my first ballet class. Many recitals later I found myself dancing professionally. She has attended every opening and even traveled to Japan to see me perform. When Jennifer Maanavi and I opened Physique 57, she was one of our first clients. Since then she has dropped four dress sizes by attending our classes and doing our DVDs. I'm so proud of her and lucky to have her as my biggest fan and mother! Tanya Becker is the co-founder of Physique 57, a boutique exercise studio in New York and Los Angeles
In the mid 80s, my family moved to a new city. I was a young teenager and one of the things that helped me through the transition was starting to run with my Mom every day. It started out running a few blocks and progressed to several miles. Even when I ran in middle school and high school, I would run after practice with Mom. In 1985 we ran the Old Kent River Bank Run 25K together. (We even ended up having our picture taken.) In college she ran my first marathon with me. Continued ...
After college, I moved away to a new city and a new job. My parents retired to Missouri. In 2001 my husband and I had the opportunity through my job to moved to the same city. Since our move, Mom and I walk every day. It felt no time had elapsed since our runs of yesteryear. I have recently started running again but I always make sure I still take time to walk with Mom. We have had thousands of conversations -- laughing and sharing stories of our days: present and remembering those of years past. Many problems have been solved and many ideas created as we walk those familiar steps. Now I am a Mom too. I plan to pass onto my son this tradition of being a fit parent and cherishing time with loved ones. After all, I had the best teacher.
My mother is my workout inspiration (she is a certified personal trainer). At close to 60 years old she has a better body than most women her age and, let's face it, than most women at any age! Every Sunday without fail we spend two hours working out at the gym. We lift weights (360 pounds on the Angle Leg Press), do plyometrics, and finish with a two mile run. We spend it as a day to not only work ourselves out but to catch up and reconnect over things that happened during the previous week. My mother is my inspiration, she's instilled in me a life of fitness. Most importantly, she shown me that age really is a number. Here's my mom doing her thing, putting me to shame.
My mother and I are runners. We run when it is hot, we run when it's cold, we even run when it's windy and rainy. But most importantly, we run together. We share our day: the highlights, the low points and all the in-betweens. We have always shared our workouts together. Before running it was weight lifting in the gym. We started running a year and a half ago after seeing a sign for a half marathon training program. I've always had asthma and never thought I would be able to run. My mother was a former smoker. We started running in November 2010 and ran our first half marathon in March of 2011 and our second in December. We plan on running two more this year. I lost my father to lung cancer 10 years ago. Every day and every run with my mother I cherish more, simply because I know what it is like to lose a parent young. It's a time everyday I know I get to spend with her and I know it contributes to both our health! My mother just turned 63. I am amazed daily at what she can do, how she looks and most importantly how much I love her!
I am mom to a 16-year-old girl, to whom I look like a big sister, and not because of over-exercising or resorting to cosmetic surgery, or wanting to compete with her; just because I lead a healthy life in many senses. I want to leave her a legacy of health and fitness, among a lot of other stuff. Hitting the gym with her is a bit difficult, because of the "embarrassment factor," but we've done it a few times and hope to do it in the future as she grows up.
My mom lives too far away for me to work out with her. I maybe get to see her once a year. So instead I have my mother-in-law who I get along wonderfully with. We go hiking and shopping together and we garden together as well. It is great to be able to do something with her that we both enjoy and we get along so well to the surprise of many people who have the stereotypical relationship with their mother-in-laws.
My mom was a nurse (she worked as Head Nurse at Rusk at NYU), so she definitely has inspired me to be as active as possible for as long as I can remember. Besides taking Soul Cycle in NYC together (and FlyWheel in Boca), we take annual trips to Canyon Ranch. Can't wait for my daughter Liv to join us soon! Blake Brody is the founder of Blake Brody In-Studio Footwear
I am blessed to live in the same city as my sons and daughter-in-law. We love exercising together on a very regular basis! Not only is it fun, all four of us are in great shape!
I love that my mom and I share figure skating. We get together several times a year in Sun Valley and skate outside under the stars. When we are on the ice together I feel seven again ... we laugh, share ideas and connect.
Most people who have met my mom will tell you that she does not look her age. While she definitely has good genes (hopefully bestowed to me!), it can also be attributed to many years of being active. Whether playing tennis, taking step classes (circa 1990), and, over the past 10 years or so, becoming a spin fanatic (this part, I take credit for!), she is always on her feet and on the go. With two young children, I now find myself balancing motherhood with staying active just as she does. Although I am a runner, I am also a class junkie. I still remember taking my first group fitness class was with my mom when I was in high school -- none other than a Lucille Roberts all-female step class. Thinking about our outfits and those workouts together brings a smile to my face. Fast forward 20 years, and now our jazzy workout gear is replaced by something a bit more refined (thank you, Lululemon) and the class is an intense spin class. Today our routine is simple: We take each other to our favorite instructor's classes, grab a coffee and get back to the family. Call it bonding, call it staying fit -- either way, it's one of my favorite things to do with my mom.
Htsssy:My mother and I for a long time had differences that split us apart. As I matured our relationship grew closer. I very much look up to her and her healthy habits. My whole life I have watched her strive towards something better. She still strives to be a better person, employee, and mother. We enjoy extreme sports together as often as possible. She is my hero and I enjoy spending each day with her.
Alyssa9986:My mother is one of the most resilient, loving, and charming people anyone could ever meet. She has taught me from a very young age that being active and eating healthy are the best gifts you can ever give yourself.
JenniferHughes:For several years, mom and daughter have participated in this triathlon on mother's day.
fundine:A family that plays together, stays together! Enjoying the great outdoors together in the Northwest was just part of growing up. She was on ski patrol during my ski racing days. We camped, backpacked, biked, and swam at the lake. Now a well traveled 29 year old, I've come to realize my favorite trips have been with my Mom: backpacking the 211 mile John Muir Trail and Glacier National Park, Cycling the Bahamas and Florida Keys. We talk make plans and work through problems together while we huff and puff. I want my future family to be like ours, happy and healthy. I call her my 'IRONMOM' even though she hasn't done a triathlon... yet. ;-)
Follow Maureen (Mo) Hagan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mohaganfit