Calling All On-the-Go Parents: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Healthy
While keeping fit and healthy is a number one priority for many of us, when you have errands to run, deadlines to meet, a family to feed and a household to maintain – it sometimes gets pushed aside. In saying this, Momentum Wellness Ambassador, Mary Mutlanyane, believes that it’s all much easier to achieve than you may have thought.“It’s just about thinking of things differently,” she says. And we couldn’t agree more – here are a few tips we recommend for all parents on-the-go.
1. Exercise where and when you can
According to the American Psychological Association, exercise has a number of positive mental benefits including promoting the release of your happy-hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins, that instantly give your mood a boost. Prioritising exercise and embracing it as “workout therapy” could give you the opportunity to naturally release stress and anxiety and tackle day-to-day tasks with more ease.
So the next thing is, what about all the time it takes to get to the gym and back? We understand it’s not for everyone and can seem difficult to prioritise, but luckily there are plenty of other ways exercise opportunities present themselves to us on a daily basis. For example, you may find that while you’re running errands you can opt to take the stairs instead of riding the lift. As a parent, you can also involve your children in your fitness regimen and best of all, for them it’s play time. Simply getting involved next time you’re at the playground by pushing the swing (or getting on it yourself), skipping rope, or even taking part in some hopscotch are great ways to keep active and your kids will definitely enjoy having you there.
2. Create positive reinforcement with family meals
There really is no excuse for always relying on ready made meals and take-outs when you know how quick and easy it is to snack smarter – for both you, and your family. Simple things like have readily available small packets of almonds or biltong in your car or handbag can help keep your metabolism running, your blood sugar stable and prevent you from binging on fast foods when you’re on-the-go.
As parents, being as prepared as possible for anything – and where you get your food from on a daily basis has to be a top priority if you want to reinforce a healthy-eating mindset with your children. If you don’t see yourself as a great cook, especially with healthy food options, then it’s time to get yourself motivated and inspired – go online, buy a cookbook you like and try learn a few new recipes every week.
Finally, it’s time to get rid of the habit of eating in front of the TV and going back to what was once the norm – having family dinners at the table. According to a recent study published by Harvard Medical School, this form of distracted eating can lead to even unhealthier eating habits and the lack of intimacy also takes away a good opportunity for your family to talk and bond.
3. Getting enough sleep is a priority for parents too
You’ll find that looking after the family as well as keeping healthy, happy and fit all seem to go a lot more smoothly if you’re getting enough sleep. Now parents, while this may make you laugh cynically – it’s quite factual and has a lot of science backing it up. Besides keeping your mood up, when you’re getting some well-deserved zzz’s, your brain is working hard to create all those necessary pathways needed for learning, memory and mental agility. If you don’t get enough sleep it’s more than likely your ability to focus, your attention span and your physical responses will all start to falter. Even more astounding, there’s a lot of evidence proving that a chronic lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
If you struggle to sleep, try to remember it’s not a bad thing to prioritise yourself every now and then – before bed, get lost in a good book or take a steaming hot shower. There are many ways to help prepare your body for rest and you just need to be patient.
If you can get this right, there’s really nothing stopping you from getting your day-to-day parenting tasks done more efficiently and enjoying every step with your family.