Why is it that, despite all the modern conveniences of life reducing the physical burden of home care and our tendency to lead increasingly sedentary lifestyles, you end up feeling exhausted every evening? You’d think that not having to wash your clothes by hand and being able to sit at a desk to work would mean you have far more energy than previous generations of women, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The reason is quite simple – the less you exercise, the more tired you feel, and conversely, the more exercise you do, the more energy you will have!
The link between exercise and energy levels
There are two key reasons why not getting enough exercise makes you tired. The first is that exercise is a great stress buster because it makes you fitter and stronger and therefore more resilient. The second is that it breaks the cycle of focusing on one thing for long periods of time, which is why desk jobs can be so exhausting. If you don’t get your heart pumping and your blood flowing on a regular basis, your body and brain become sluggish, everything seems more of a struggle, and you have no defense against excess stress levels. Exercising boosts your oxygen levels, strengthens you physically and mentally, and also releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that give you the feel-good factor. This all helps to improve your wellbeing and increase your energy levels, and the more exercise you do, the fitter you’ll become and thus have even more energy.
Sports or workouts?
Many people combine both, and in fact, use their exercise regime to improve their sporting performance. If you lead a very busy life – and who doesn’t when they have kids – you might find it hard to free up enough time to do both, so if you have to choose, which is best? It comes down to your personal preference, but if you struggle to find the motivation to work out at the gym or keep going to fitness classes, you might find the fun element of sports is more appealing. If you have a competitive streak, playing a game which can be won or lost can be highly motivating, and you can get in the zone to the extent that everything else goes out of your mind. Sporting activities are also easier to fit in with family responsibilities, as you can involve your partner and the kids either as players or spectators.
Which sports are best?
All sports are good, but some will get you fitter than others. A workout on the racquetball court will burn up hundreds of calories and leave you breathless and sweating – great for getting you fit! On the other hand, a stroll around the golf course will give you a long, gentle workout which will build strength and be more gentle on your joints. Before you take up a sport or get back into one you participated in years ago, think about any physical limitations you may have, or health problems that could make a particular activity inadvisable. For example, you should only play racquetball if you’re reasonably fit already, as it can place a great deal of stress on your heart; and running isn’t the best idea if you have rheumatic problems because of the effects of concussion on your joints.
Practical tips for participating in sports
Most sports require the purchase of specialist equipment, and it can be expensive in some cases. If you want to take up cycling you might need to spend a couple thousand dollars on a good bicycle, plus the safety gear and accessories (including a padded seat cover if you don’t want your butt to give you hell!). Running and walking are much cheaper options; good quality, well-fitting footwear are essential, but otherwise, you can wear anything you’re comfortable in. Don’t skimp on safety equipment like helmets and shin pads, because your life could quite literally depend on how well these items protect you should you have an accident. If you wear glasses, they can be a real nuisance in most sports. They can be painful under a safety helmet, be hard to see out of if it rains, and get steamed up on cold days or when you get hot. Contact lenses are a good alternative that won’t cause you the same problems. You can view this site to find out more about lenses and see whether they would be right for you. You can’t really wear glasses or contacts in the pool, but if you want to swim, you can get prescription goggles instead.
Finding time for sports
The first barrier to taking up a sport is that problem with fatigue, but as we’ve seen, you’ll cure that problem if you start exercising regularly. The second barrier is time, which is a precious commodity that there never seems to be enough of. You need to start seeing exercise as a priority rather than something to fit in if you ever get any free time. To get the best from it, exercise needs to be regular, so take a look at your schedule and see if you can spot a window of opportunity such as using your lunch breaks, or finding ways to save time around the house. If you’re having trouble seeing how to fit exercise into your day, try combining it with other activities. For instance, you could go on family walks, swims, or cycle rides, or all get involved in a local sports club. That way you will be spending time together and enjoying the benefits of exercise at the same time.
Taking part in sports helps you get and stay fit, reduces the effects of chronic stress, helps you keep your figure, and sets a good example for your kids. You can also make new friends and become part of a team or group that enriches your life. There are so many potential benefits to being involved in sporting activities that you owe it to yourself and your family to become a sporty mom!