Feeling less than energetic and can’t find the enthusiasm or the time to work out? Guess what, exercise can make you happier and healthier! So, here are eight reasons why you must try aerobics.
By Tasneem Sariya
When you're exhausted with the daily routine of managing home, children and work, the last thing you would want to do is exercise. For that matter, you may think that you simply do not have the time to do so, either. And for working mothers, this may seem like a Herculean task. But did you know that even short bursts of physical activity can boost your energy levels and mood? According to a 2013 study in the American Journal of Health Promotion, even small amounts of physical activity can be extremely beneficial.
Why not motivate yourself to try out some aerobics as a way to boost fitness levels? Aerobics is defined as physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength-training routines, meant to improve overall fitness. Today, aerobics has become popular because it is simple in terms of execution and routine. More important, aerobics has an effect on the lungs, heart and the resultant blood flow, making you breathe harder and faster, increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Blood vessels widen to carry more oxygen to the muscles and the body releases endorphins (or 'happy' hormones) that are inherent painkillers.
"I took up aerobics after my daughter turned one, to lose post-pregnancy fat. The exuberance and vitality that I feel because of doing the exercises thrice a week, allow me to glide through my busy work day with increased energy," says Lekha M, entrepreneur and mother to a two-year-old girl.
You could sign up for an aerobics class at your local gym or look up videos online and do the routines at home. But you can also do some aerobic exercises that include walking, running, jogging or swimming. Do what suits you the best.
Here are the top eight reasons we recommend it for all mommies:
1. Helps in weight loss: Motherhood usually brings with it some weight gain. In fact, about 75 per cent of women experience weight gain post-pregnancy and delivery. Often, they find it increasingly difficult to shed that weight. This is where aerobics, aerobic exercises and a healthy diet can play a vital role.
2. Reduces health problems: Aerobics can prevent excess weight gain. It also reduces the chances of your contracting heart-related illnesses, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and might even safeguard you from certain types of cancer in the future. As a mom, your overall health is extremely important. And aerobics can be a potent weapon against lifestyle diseases and other conditions.
3. Manages diseases: Women often tend to develop health complications either during pregnancy or post-delivery. For instance, diabetes and low blood pressure can often occur during pregnancy and even, after delivery. Taking up aerobics at the right time and with proper medical advice, can help you here. Also, unlike pills or medicines, this is one cure that is free of side effects. This is important especially if you are still a nursing mom.
4. Increases stamina: As a mother, you need to be on your toes practically the entire day. An early morning walk or jog with some aerobic stretches, can be the perfect way to begin your morning. It will boost your mood, enhance energy levels and keep you going. Initially, it is possible that you may feel tired after a couple of aerobic sessions. In the long run, however, you will feel an increase in stamina and more energy to carry out your other chores. If aerobics is tough to fit into your schedule, go for a short walk in the evening or any time during the day. The effect will be the same.
5. Keeps viral illnesses at bay: Aerobics helps to strengthen your immune system, making you less susceptible to viral illnesses such as colds and fevers. The last thing you want as a mother is to be sneezing your way through the day or running a fever while taking care of your child. Aerobics improves your overall health and fitness levels, so you are better able to manage home, work and children.
6. Lifts the spirits: The freshness that you feel after a walk or swim is unparalleled and gives a huge boost to your mood. It is understandable if, as a mother, you often feel fatigued and tired, gloomy and irritable. Aerobics is a great way to overcome such moods. The lift in your spirits will make you happier and this will be reflected in the way you treat your child and enhance the quality of time you spend with her.
7. Curbs bone loss in breastfeeding moms: According to recent studies, new moms, especially those who are breast feeding, require aerobic exercises to manage the temporary bone loss caused by calcium depletion. Research carried out by the American College of Sports Medicine found that new moms who did not exercise lost around 7% of their lower spine bone density during breastfeeding.
8. Helps educate the children: Children learn best by watching their parents. If you make a conscious effort to exercise every day, walk or jog, join an aerobics class or do aerobic exercises at home, your child will realise how important it is to stay healthy. This will inculcate the habit of healthy living and exercising in him — perhaps one of the best things you can do for him.
Mothers often neglect their health, thinking they have to put the needs of their children and family first. But it is important to remember that a mother’s health, physical well-being, mental ability and emotional happiness, constitute the pillars of a stable home. A dent in any of these factors can eventually affect the overall functioning of the family. Aerobics is a wonderful way to stay fit and lose weight. Most important, it makes you feel good about yourself, improves agility and adds a spring to your step.
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