By, Dr. Bren Boston
I’ve always had a bit of a Type A personality. Probably most doctors do, how else can you make it through medical school? Having a Type A personality means that my sympathetic nervous system, my fight or flight instinct, can make me a bit on edge sometimes. It also helps me get stuff done. But, too much of a good thing, is a bad thing. Exercising is the main way I balance my sympathetic nervous system, burning off the excess adrenaline, helping me to be less uptight and less irritable. And, any mom knows, you are a better mom when you are feeling more relaxed, less uptight, and happier.
Staying fit by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly is also my mood stabilizer. When I go running, I am flushed with a sense of optimism that comes out of nowhere. It just washes over me, and my mind is flooded with creative ideas and positive thoughts. Natural endorphins and improved blood flow are the biological causes of these uplifting brain waves. These happy feelings spill over into my interactions with my kids, helping me to enjoy the precious moments and to tolerate the gripes with aplomb.
Staying fit also gives me energy. One of the biggest complaints I hear from other moms is that they feel tired. I can honestly say that I have great energy due to an endurance built up from regular exercise 5 days a week, and sleeping 8-9 hours a night. Having energy allows me to play joyfully with my kids. I can tell they are in tune with my energy, and it brings us closer together. I also feel good about setting an example for them of how exercise can be a fun part of your weekly routine, something to look forward to, not to dread.
Being healthy is important for longevity. I want to be there to see my kids grow up into adults, and to be a grandparent to their children. In fact, I don’t just want to be there for my grandkids, I want to be running around with them, babysitting them, and keeping up with them. Exercising, specifically weight training, gives me noticeable muscle strength that I am aware of when toting heavy grocery bags without flinching or lifting my kids into a bear hug despite my small frame.
Being fit is an important aspect of my self-esteem. What you see on the outside is not nearly as important as what is on the inside, but the real you is stuck inside your body. Keeping your vessel healthy and fit is a way to honor the real you, the soul, that lives within. Being fit allows me to feel comfortable in my clothing, and to feel good about my body. I don’t have a perfect body, but I do have a strong, energetic, healthy body, and that helps me be the mom I want to be.