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Healthy Mum = Healthy Kids

Guest Post by Jen Dugard

We are all told it’s good to exercise and as mums we know we should be doing it, but sometimes it’s just hard to find the time and motivation with the other million and one things that need to be done.  But what if the exercise that YOU do actually has a positive effect on your children?  Would that motivate you to get out and do it more often?

So let’s start during pregnancy.  In a normal, complication free pregnancy exercise is recommended for the health of the mother.  Research from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences suggests that exercise during pregnancy also has positive effects on the unborn baby and could be one of the best ways to give them a healthy start in life.

“When the mom exercises during pregnancy, the unborn baby gets the same type of training effect that you would see in an adult,” said researcher Linda E. May, “so you see the lower heart rate and also improved heart rate variability, which is evidence of improvements in the nervous system of the heart. Maternal exercise may be the earliest intervention to improve the heart of children and possibly the best.”

Although we promote exercise at this time there are certain guidelines and adjustments you should make during pregnancy. Be sure to seek advice from someone experienced in prenatal health and fitness.

Younger children and babies also benefit from the exercise you do as a mother.  I have many mums that come along to my mums and bubs group training sessions (where we have nannies on hand to look after bub) and enjoy the time out doing something positive for themselves.  They walk away feeling energized and good about themselves.  Endorphins released during exercise contribute to a more positive well being and a better mood.  This is especially important in new mums; post natal depression effects about 15% of new mums and regular exercise can really help to improve their mood.  In turn, a happier mum means a happier more contented baby and family life.

As your child gets older it is important to make regular exercise a normal part of daily life.  Children are born to exercise, to play and run around; they naturally want to spend energy and once upon a time there may have been no need to encourage them to get moving.  In years gone by kids didn’t have access to TV and video games, it was a given that evenings and weekends were spent playing outside with friends and that’s how it should be.  It is recommended that children over the age of two years get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and what better way to encourage this than to get out and move yourself.  Take your child to the park and kick a ball, put on your joggers and whilst you run your son or daughter can zoom along on their bike or scooter and make it fun by racing to the next tree.  Let them see you getting out there on a daily basis and encourage as much movement as possible in your household.

Childhood obesity is on the rise and with it comes increased cases of Type 2 diabetes and joint problems in young people, not to mention the increased health risks later in life.  The messages and habits you provide your children with throughout their childhood and into their teenage years will influence them not only now but later in life.  Children learn from their parents so it is your responsibility to give them a good grounding and teach them how to live a healthy well balanced lifestyle.

So what are you waiting for? Get out, get sweaty, get your heart pumping and show your kids how it’s done!

Jen Dugard is a highly motivated mother of two, fitness specialist and author who thrives on showing all mums that they can put themselves first and achieve both the body and lifestyle of their dreams. Jen’s message on exercise as a mum is simple: “you must take the time to re-build from the inside out to become stronger, fitter and more confident that you have ever been”. To find out more about Jen Dugard, Body Beyond Baby visit www.jendugard.com