Why exercise is more than physical

When I had my first child, like most new mums my entire world was all about my tiny new baby. Every time I looked at the clock I wouldn’t just see 1 o’clock, I’d see 1 o’clock Harry’s feeding time, 3 o’clock- Harry will be awake in 5 minutes, 6 o’clock-Harry’s going to need a nappy change- the list goes on. Before I knew it, every hour of the day was about Harry, even when he was asleep I was either washing Harry’s clothes, sterilising bottles or attempting to get a nap in before Harry woke up. 

The first few weeks soon turned into several months of the same routine. Monday through to Friday were one hundred percent led by baby Harry. It’s only looking back on those months that I realise it was then that I began to lose myself as a person. I was on auto-pilot as Harry’s Mum and had forgotten how to properly look after myself. 

During my pregnancy the women in my family and my midwife made a point of telling me to look after myself once Harry arrived. I assumed that as long as I was getting myself dressed most days and managed to have a least half a cup of lukewarm tea that I was pretty much acing it in terms of looking after myself but I was wrong.

Outside the realm of showering and eating, I had completely neglected my wellbeing. I wasn’t really doing anything for me and my happiness completely and utterly depended on how happy Harry was. If Harry was having a bad day then so would I because nothing else really existed in my life at that time. It wasn’t until Harry was around six months old that I decided I would ‘change’ our daily routine up whereby we would both benefit. 

I decided to start exercising every morning around 9 o’clock, just after Harry had breakfast. I would put him in his door bouncer whilst I got dressed in an old t-shirt and my partners football shorts. I’d put on Jillian Michaels 30 day shred and I’d just go for it without even thinking. Harry would watch me with a bemused look on his face and on the days when he was a little grouchy I’d stick on Charlie and the Numbers for him to watch- (thank you Baby Tv!)

It didn’t take long for me to notice the difference to my wellbeing, everytime I finished a workout I felt fantastic. I’ll be honest and say that I first started exercising to lose some weight but I definitely wouldn’t have kept going like I have done these past seven years if it wasn’t for it’s psychological effects. Quite simply- the mental advantages of exercising far outweigh the physical. 

And just like that, a new routine in the morning where I had some time for myself made me feel happier, fitter and bizarrely more energised. To this day exercise is still massive part of my life, it’s been a coping mechanism when I’m stressed, it’s helped improve my anxiety and it allows me the time to stop overthinking about silly things and what’s more I can do it all in the comfort of my own home!

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