BY LOUISE HURLEY
As mums, our lives can often feel like a never–ending juggling act. Between the demands of parenting, household chores and work, taking time for ourselves can end up at the bottom of the priority list. However, finding moments for self–care is not only essential for our wellbeing but also sets a positive example for our children.
One powerful way to prioritise self–care is by getting our bodies moving outdoors. While the physical benefits of outdoor exercise are numerous, they extend far beyond just fitness. Here’s why I believe we all need to get outside to move our body on a regular basis:
The Mental Health Boost
Outdoor exercise is a natural mood enhancer. The fresh air, sunshine, and connection to nature can have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing. When you step outside for a workout or even a walk, you’re more likely to reduce our stress levels. Being in nature allows our mind to disconnect from the chaos of everyday mum–life, offering a sense of calm and mental clarity.
Vitamin D Absorption
Exposure to sunlight during outdoor exercise provides our bodies with a natural source of Vitamin D. This vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining strong bones and a healthy immune system. Remember to wear SPF when the UV index increases during spring and summer.
Increased energy levels
Us mums often struggle with physical and mental fatigue from day to day mum–life, but outdoor exercise can be a powerful energy booster. The combination of physical activity and fresh air increases oxygen to our muscles and brain, revitalises our body and can leave you feeling more energetic and ready to tackle whatever the kiddies have to throw at us that day!
Strengthening family bonds
Exercising outdoors sets an example for our children, encouraging them to adopt healthy habits from a young age. We can involve the kids in our outdoor workouts, whether it’s playing in the park (have you ever tried doing squats as you push your little one on the swings? It’s a great leg workout!), going for a walk, or cycling together. These shared experiences can create lasting memories and promote a healthy family lifestyle.
Improved Sleep Quality
Quality sleep is essential! Most of the time when our children are little we often face disrupted sleep patterns, so the little sleep we do get needs to be good quality. Exercising outdoors can help regulate our circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and enjoy deeper, more restorative sleep. Adequate rest is crucial for maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing.
Enhanced Immune System
Regular outdoor exercise can boost our immune system, helping you stay healthier and more resistant to common illnesses. This is especially beneficial for us mums when staying healthy is vital when taking care of a family.
Variety of movement
Exercising outdoors opens up a world of possibilities. From yoga in the park to bush walks or even a short jog through the neighbourhood (providing your pelvic floor and core is ready for running), the options are so diverse, which is great for preventing boredom and keeps our fitness routines fresh and exciting.
Finally, outdoor exercise can really boost our self–esteem. Achieving fitness goals outdoors, no matter how small, can instil a sense of accomplishment. Over time, this leads to improved self–confidence, which will shine through all aspects of life.
Exercising outdoors is not just about physical fitness; it’s a holistic approach to wellbeing for mums. It nurtures mental health, fosters family bonds, and enriches our lives in numerous ways. So, next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, consider stepping outside, even for ten minutes and get some movement into your day.
If you’d like to return to high impact exercise but not sure how, booking an appointment with a women’s health or pelvic health physio is a great place to start.
Need some park workout ideas?
These are some of my favourites:
- Squats while pushing the swings
- Over–unders (start by holding a plank on the ground, your little one climbs over the top of you then you lift your hips higher so that they can crawl under you. Repeat)
- Monster chase (you are the monster and you chase after your little one. Mix up the way that you move– you could try jogging, walking lunges or jumps)
Louise Hurley As a MumSafe™ trainer and Pregnancy and Postnatal Corrective Exercise Specialist, Louise’s mission is to help mums at every stage of motherhood safely start or return to exercise. Louise is the owner of Strong Mums and runs small group training and 1:1 PT. Find out more at www.strongmums.com or on social media @strongmumsgosford