Parenting can be stressful on so many levels, but fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to reduce this stress, one of them being exercise. In fact, why not go ahead and make it a family affair by exercising with your spouse and kids, as doing so will elevate the experience.
Yes, exercising with the family can reduce the stress of parenthood, and here is how:
Harvard Medical School claim that exercise is an effective stress buster as it burns off stress hormones “just as nature intended.” Moreover, any form of motion done repeatedly, as in running, swimming, rowing, or even simply walking, “helps relieve pent-up tension” even as specific kinds of exercise like qigong, tai chi, and yoga trigger a relaxation response that helps ward off all sorts of stress, including the stress caused by parenting.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also vouches for exercise as a means to cope with stress. It even states that among the various stress management strategies out there, exercise “may be the one most recommended by health care professionals,” and for good reason: It really works! As an added bonus, exercising offers plenty of health benefits, including improved overall fitness, enhanced immune system, and better mental faculties.
For some parents it is stressful to spend time with their families. However studies have shown that spending quality time with the family can in fact reduce stress. The 500 Family Study from the University of Chicago’s Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work found that spending time with one’s family is an excellent means to manage various kinds of stress. The study reported that the best stress reducer for parents was putting aside external stresses and spending time with family members.
This is not the only study to link a reduction in stress and family time. According to Indiana University Health taking time out with your family lowers stress levels, and this is all the more reason for you to go to spend a lot more time with your spouse and kids.
Now, put 2 and 2 together: a stress buster (exercising) plus a stress reducer (family time) and what do you get? A fun, enjoyable family activity that will reduce not only the stresses of parenthood but all other forms of stress, too. Just remember that exercising need not always be physically taxing. Simply walking around the park is a form of exercise.
As a parent it is important that you encourage physical exercise in the family and lead by example. Running Blog editor Kate Carter admitted in an interview with Tootsa, that she encourages her kids to try sports, but is careful not to pressure them into doing so. More than offering words of encouragement, Carter also makes sure that she joins in on the fun, as is the case with her eldest daughter, Lily, who sometimes does a junior park run with her sporty mom. Sport is one of the many forms of exercise that family can do together.
Parenthood is not easy and if you are not careful you can end up finding it very stressful. As this article has shown, parenthood stress can be managed through exercising with your family. The important part is finding the time to exercise as a family, in order to create a stronger bond and reduce any stresses.
Article specially written for MotherhoodAndWine.com
About the Author: NeoMommy_RJ is a writer. She believes that maintaining a strong family unit is the most important part of parenting. She hopes that her articles and advice will demonstrate to current and future parents the necessity of establishing quality family time.