Why Sleep is Essential for Moms Looking to Get Fit

running shoesBeing a mom is not an excuse to pass on the habit of going to gym and getting fit, and this was emphasized recently here on Geek Mamas. It can be empowering to have some ‘me time’ and being able to spend a few hours in a day losing some of the accumulated weight during pregnancy.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there, as you can do more research into how to get the best #BodyAfterBaby. Among the many things about fitness and health for moms, it’s important to note the role of sleep and why it should be a non-negotiable part of your fitness regimen.

On catching enough Zs

When you’re a new mom, juggling your own and your baby’s needs can be quite a challenge. This may take a toll on your health – especially when it’s your restorative evenings that are on the chopping block. It’s especially ironic considering that all moms know the importance of their child’s sleep, but don’t exactly prioritize their own.

As it turns out, so many Americans lack sleep everyday that sleep loss is now considered a public health problem. Harvard Health summarizes the effects of inadequate sleep in six different areas of life: learning and memory, metabolism and weight, safety, mood, cardiovascular health, and risks of disease. In fact, the quality and quantity of sleep you get on the regular is so consequential so much so that Time Magazine likens it to the fountain of youth. For moms looking to get fit, adequate sleep helps regulate hunger and appetite hormones while also regulating the way a person’s body processes and stores carbohydrates.

bab1A three-fold challenge

When thinking of getting fit, two things usually come into mind: eating healthy and exercising regularly. However, more and more research is pointing to another pillar in terms of achieving and maintaining a healthy physique: Sleep is just as important, and sometimes even more so, than diet and exercise.

Sleep gives you energy, and prepares your body mentally and physically for your gym time, making sleep an extremely important part of your fitness regimen. Fitness expert Jim White tells Leesa, “When you’re tired you’re less likely to work out, and your body produces more of the hunger hormone leptin, which can lead to overeating. Your muscles recover during sleep – you can’t get truly to a high level of fitness without enough sleep.”

The effects of sleep are so profound that White and other fitness experts would recommend sleeping in after a late night over pushing your body to exercise with just four hours of sleep, which a lot of moms are prone to doing. Success Magazine argues that you need all three parts of fitness – regular exercise, healthy diet, and adequate sleep – to achieve and maintain a healthy body.

bab4

At the end of the day, healthy living is something you can do on your own pace. Finding a gym that also houses a daycare center may be invaluable for moms looking to get fit, while learning more about the importance of sleep gives additional reasons to maintain the lifestyle. Let us know how things are going for your #BodyAfterBaby journey in the comments!

 

#BodyAfterBaby and Why the gym is my new favorite place

gymOne of the best things I’ve done since becoming a stay at home mom is join a gym with child care. I’ve never had quite such great incentive to go work out. No time for yourself? Kid driving you crazy and you need to recharge? Maybe all you really want is a hot shower? Go to the gym for a stress-relieving hour and a half break!

I’ve never really been a gym person. I prefer to workout at home, in private. But now that privacy is a something I’ve given up in favor of motherhood, I have to go out and seek ways to find me-time. Some days that “me-time” comes in the form of slowly peddling a recumbent bike while checking my e-mail.

And while I may often take advantage of the child care just to get a much needed break, just being at the gym so much has inspired me to start working out for real. Some days I surprise myself and actually get sweaty. Within my first few months of going I lost a stubborn 7 lbs. of baby weight that I’d been fighting with for a while and now I’m working on the last five. I think some parts of me are permanently changed in shape just due to housing a child for ten months in there, but I’m excited to now be fitting back into some of my favorite clothes.

And now that it has become a habit and a welcome break, I actually miss it when I don’t go. I even went on a Sunday last week! Normally I don’t even hit my FitBit step goal on a Sunday so this is quite a change for me. I even signed up for some fitness challenge apps, but am saving that for a future blog after I get some results!

Discovering the gym was a real sanity-saver. And the big bonus is I look better, feel better and am happier for the little break every time I go. I highly recommend giving it a try even if you aren’t into working out. You may surprise yourself. I know I did!