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Did you know that running for moms is the perfect way to stay healthy and motivated?
Running can be a challenging experience, but with these tips, it will become easier and more enjoyable.
This guide includes everything from how running helps your body to how to get started. It also contains many personal anecdotes about why I run – which are always motivating!
Once Upon a Time, I was a mom on the run.
One of the highlights of my long parenting history was back when my youngest was little and we did Stroller Strides. The friends I made are still some of my best friends 10+ years later and 7ish years after the class ended. Many of the kids are still friends.
And while that class and those women were a beautiful blessing in my life, it was also the place that Judy “made” me run. (Y’all, she chased me more than once.)
You may know Judy from many past Lexington Mommy events and her guest writing on this site. Such as “7 Ways to Get Active & Stay Active”. I absolutely adore her! Even though she made me run. Repeatedly. Run in class, run 5ks, run in the rain, run in the heat, etc.
But here’s the thing. I secretly liked it. Eventually.
I have every reason not to run. I have legit joint issues, health situations, and let’s be honest, my behind and other body parts don’t scream runner. But with baby steps, baby jogs, tons of motivation, and seeing and hearing my kid cheer me on (and knowing she was watching), I ran.
Let’s be completely upfront. I didn’t run fast. I didn’t run far. I did a LOT of running a bit, walking a bit, running a bit, walking a long bit. I was absolutely convinced my insides were going to explode more than once. And I never reach the “I love running” status. But I ran.
While we’re making confessions here, I stopped running. I’m sure I got busy, had an injury, it rained several days in a row. And I’m sure I meant to get back out there. Then eventually it just didn’t even occur me. And once I stopped, the idea of running stresses me out again with all kinds of negative thoughts and whining and such.
So here we are. Many, many years after my last 5k or run of any distance, I’m starting over. Starting fresh. So this article is for both of us. A reminder of the whys and hows. Motivation and encouragement to get out there and get my body moving.
And if I can, you can.
Is Running Good for Moms?
Running is good for moms because it can help you get and stay in shape, feel better mentally and is great activity to do for “me time” or as a family. Running can also improve mental health and reduce physical health risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and lower your weight.
Running is good for your physical health
Running can be a great way to stay fit and healthy as you get older. It has been shown to help people lose weight, increase energy levels, and improve moods.
- Maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improve cardiovascular health by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
- Improved muscle tone and strength.
- Reduced risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and some cancers.
- Better balance, agility and coordination.
Mental health benefits for running moms
Running also effects the chemicals released in your brain and body that have their own list of mental health benefits.
- Endorphins and seratonin released in your brain when you exercise or run and improve your mood.
- Endocannabinoids is a biochemical substance similar to cannabis and is one of the few that cross the brain-body barrier moving from body to brain creating short-term feelings of reduced stress and calm.
- When you run, blood circulation in the brain is increased which positively affects the part of your brain that improves your mood and controls and improves reaction to stress.
- Boosts executive function (the set of cognitive processes that control behavior, such as planning, organization, and self-control).
- Helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality
- Improves your memory and ability to learn.
Running can also provide you with a sense of accomplishment which can be quite rewarding on its own.
Sources for all of the above linked at the bottom of the article.
Mom runs can be family runs with a fresh batch of benefits.
Not only will you reap the physical benefits of running, but you can also have a positive impact on how your kids view exercise and healthy living. Children learn by watching those around them. As children see their parents make exercise, time outside, and healthy choices a priority , it establishes a positive example for them that will stay with them throughout childhood and be carried into their adult lives.
Running with your kids is also a great way to spend time together, even with your babies and toddlers in a jogging stroller. There are a long list of even more physical and mental benefits for kids being active outside with the family, from vitamin D to exploring the world around them and many in between.
How to Get Started Running
Check with your doctor
Always check with your doctor before starting an new exercise program or routine. Your doctor will help you decide what is best for your body and fitness level.
The right shoes are important for running!
To pick the right running shoes, you need to consider your foot type and width and triple check the size. Especially after having kids, your foot shape and size can change. The size you used to be may not be the actual current size for your foot.
You should look for shoes that have a good fit, provide cushioning and stability, and are made from a durable material.
Also, be sure to store your running shoes in a dry place to keep them functioning optimally.
There are stores around town that will measure your foot, discuss your running routines, and help you choose just the right shoes.
Remember: Good shoes aren’t cheap, but they are absolutely worth the investment!
Mom on the run: ease into it
It’s important to ease your body into any exercise by warming up first. Stretching helps warm your muscles much like when you first start messing around with play dough. Your warm it, stretch it, move it around to make it pliable, easier to move, and make it do what you want it to do.
Start slowly to ease into running. Have you ever tried Couch to 5K? Notice they don’t start you off just telling you to run for 3 miles. Run a little. Walk a little. Run a little. Walk a little. Work towards making the running sections longer and the walking sections shorter until the whole distance is running. Some people like to use time as their measurements and some people prefer physical distance such as, “Ok, I’m going to run at least to that tree up down the path.” Try each and find which works best for you.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. But be mindful of “Well, this is new and pushing us to do new things and use new muscles.” versus “Houston, we have a problem.”
As you’re running, keep your mind focused also. Remind yourself why you are running and the positive benefits. Don’t save your sense of accomplishment for the end. Every step is an accomplishment. Focus on your breathing. Give yourself pep talks as you go.
Ok, I ran. Now what?
Awesome job, rockstar! Make sure to cool down after your run. Walk around. Stretch some more. Drink more water. Deep breaths. Ease your body out of “running mode”.
Spoiler alert: you are going to be sore. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and fueling your body with good foods! Keep stretching to help loosen those muscles. Foam rollers are also great for helping muscles recover.
Ok, now do it again. Stay steady and consistent with your running schedule. Put it on your calendar. Make it part of your routine. Keep that commitment to yourself! If you start missing runs, putting them off until “later”, it mentally becomes easier to push it off and harder to go back out there. You absolutely CAN get back out there. But the second, third, fourth, fifty-seventh run is easier than the first.
Running for moms is a great form of self-care.
You have to take care of YOU so you can take care of everyone else. Running has a great mix of physical benefits and mental health benefits. It can be time alone, just for you. Or it can be time spent together as a family.
I know, I know. It can seem super daunting. Baby steps are still steps forward. The important part is to get up, get out, get moving. You got this!
Related articles full of great info:
Quick Recap of Running for Moms:
What are the benefits for running moms?
Running is good for moms because it can help them stay in shape, feel better about themselves and have time to spend with their family. Running can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and lower your weight.
What are some helpful tips for exercising and running for moms?
-Make sure you drink plenty of water!
-Put it in your schedule and on your calendar. Make and keep the commitment to yourself.
– Start with a short run/walk five days per week.
– Keep it fun with good music, interesting podcasts, or audio book.
-Schedule time to get out for a run with friends.