There are all kinds of toys and gadgets designed to soothe children, but nothing can erase the power of the family—exercise, your dog, the beach—and you just wish you could relax with both of you. A brief survey of parental group activity and release finds that the time between parenthood and work leaves less and less time to exercise. Is it any wonder that you’re suffering from hankering after your freedom?
Psychologists say that simply tossing on some gym clothes, a pair of sunnies, and heading to the park or the beach—having a good enough time on your own that you are able to unwind—is healthy. Studies have found that physical activity boosts immunity, decreases stress, boosts memory, and improves concentration.
What’s the deal with the women and men who are still hitting the gym regularly after having kids? Though the rates of such activities are reportedly on the rise, the ratio of mothers to fathers may still be more than twice as high as the norm. To make an effort to return to the exercise routine that you once enjoyed is likely going to be rewarding, and not as daunting as it might seem. Jot down the good reasons you made the same decision you’ve made in the past: which gym and trainer it was, whether it was in town or in another state. Rather than attempting to juggle family and workouts as if you were “the caveman,” put down the cell phone and log on the internet. Look around for something good and interesting to do, even if the process takes some time.
Remember: parenting, even after you have a child, is work—a work that has its share of stress, boredom, and inconvenient moments. Consider the value of exercise, too. It can be done alone in the gym, or with the kids and sports; it can be done on a treadmill or a bike or a park swing; it can be run through or broken down by a trainer. Some people will find the old-school fitness regimen they grew up with to be more relaxing and effective, while others will find more personalized coaching improves their work. All of them are equally worth the effort.