The Importance Of Living An Active Life And Our Role As Influential Mothers

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There is a lot of pressure on women today to look, behave and act in a certain way. Timeless yet useless yet traditions have dictated how women should behave in society, while social media, magazines, and television are full of flawless women with perfectly toned bodies, leading to many women losing self-esteem and feeling inadequate. I went through a bitter divorce in my early thirties and had to fight the stigmas attached to being a young divorcee in my own culture and society. My confidence was rock-bottom, and it appeared there was seemingly no light at the end of this dark tunnel that I was hopelessly wandering in.

I took up Martial Arts in an attempt to become mentally and physically stronger. At first, it was tough, and there were times when I wanted to give up. But the image of my daughter at the bottom of our stairs with tears in her eyes saying,” Mummy, I prayed, you can do this!!” always motivated me to go on. Eventually, at age 34, I kicked ass and became a blackbelt in kickboxing. Boxing taught me to face my fear rather than avoid it. It empowered me mentally and equipped me to face my challenges in daily life. It made me realize the importance of exercise and living an active and healthy life for my daughter and me.

A recent article in the Guardian stated that ill-health from long-term inactivity in the pre-COVID era was responsible for one in six UK deaths, about 100,000 a year, and 5 million globally. There is an alarming rise in the levels of obesity in children and its links with life-limiting diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc. Another study by Sport England shows that three-quarters of women would like to do more exercise.

However, spending time on exercise rather than with family, housework, school tends to make them feel guilty, ultimately leading to less physical activity. But in the wake of these alarming statistics, our role as mothers becomes crucial in not only ensuring a good diet and exercise for our children but also becoming role-models ourselves for them. Research has shown that active mothers have more active kids, and children who play sports and engage in physical activities early in life are more likely to stay active in their later lives as well. As stated in Sport England’s popular ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, mothers may believe that looking after everyone else’s needs is their main priority. But the truth is that they need to take care of themselves first to ensure they have the energy to look after those they love.

Tips on shopping for your kids

We are sure you are all set to dress your munchkins in the best of outfits for this season and are already preparing a list of outfits to shop for them. Following are a few pointers to keep in mind while shopping for your little ones:

Choose season-specific clothing while purchasing clothes for your kids.

Be size-specific: Use the size charts to purchase clothes that fit your kid exactly.

Avoid over-shopping: Purchase clothes that are essential for your baby as they tend to grow out of clothes quickly.

Choose Comfortable Fabric
Choose simpler clothes
Buy easy to wear clothes

Below mentioned are some useful tips for remaining active based on personal experience:
  • Be creative and play games with your children with obstacles that involve a press-up or a burpee at the end to ensure physical activity.
  • You can make the experience enjoyable by throwing a Bhangra party via video call with your friends, which definitely gets the heart pumping.
  • Shinrin-yoku,’ the Japanese technique of nature therapy, states that being around nature decreases stress and even strengthens the immune system. A walk in the woods can do wonders for your mental state.
  • Next time you are out shopping, try walking to the local shops next time instead of taking a car. This activity can be replicated while grabbing lunch, dropping, and picking up kids from school. You can also ride a bicycle to do all these activities, which not only would be beneficial for your health but also the environment.
  • Enroll in a yoga class with a friend or a family member.
  • Please do not be lazy in exercising; you don’t need to be motivated to exercise. You need to make it a part of your schedule similar to other daily activities like brushing.
  • You can also engage kids in physical activities with a game of their choice and participate in them to feel comfortable and have fun at the same time.
  • There are many free videos and live classes on all social media platforms which portray various forms of exercise.
  • If you’re working from home and your children are attending online classes, you can take short breaks every 45 minutes from your desk and do one exercise. E.g., 10-20 squats can be done in such breaks. I recently purchased some weights from Amazon, which came with a handy workout sheet that explains each exercise.

We all love our children and want the best for them. Therefore we must teach them to care for their bodies. Early physical activity in the young leads to a longer life, free of disability and disease. Young people should engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week.

Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, including brisk walking, cycling, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, e.g., running. We should not wait till the eleventh hour before we become seriously ill to make healthy lifestyle changes and making such simple yet efficient changes add more years to our lives. Being active and exercising also boosts sleep quality, reduces stress levels, boosts energy, but most importantly, helps you sail smoothly through life’s ups and downs, and tackle all of them with a smile!

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Also Read:

The Yin and Yang of Single Parenting

5 Steps to be a Boss to your Child

Raising Girl Child in Gender Neutral Spaces

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