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  • Kristin McNealus, DPT, MBA

Exercise is Self Care

Again, parenting is stressful! You should acknowledge that, and give yourself a break when it gets overwhelming. That is understandable. But again, stress can cause physical symptoms, and that is one important reason to find a healthy outlet. Additionally, if you let it affect your mental wellbeing, you again may not be able to give care. Again, the good news is that exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress! It releases endorphins which are our “feel good” neurotransmitters. It can also help the production of serotonin and dopamine to ward off depression and anxiety, as well as just help to stabilize your mood. Sometimes we can get irritable when we are stress.

Additionally, exercise can help you get a better night of sleep. This can be tough for many reasons when you are a parent; you may have to get up multiple times to help your child turn in bed, or go to the bathroom, or you may not get a deep sleep due to your stress. That fatigue can be a physical and mental stress on the body. While exercise cannot help you get more sleep, being able to get into a deeper sleep during the hours you have can help decrease fatigue. This can also contribute to decreased perceptions of your stress, as well as any pain you may have.

Exercise can help to manage pain, which is a problem for many people. Exercise can help fix some muscular imbalances that lead to pain. A common issue is low back pain. Many of us have hip flexors from sitting too much. These are the muscles on the front of your hips, and attach to the lower spine, and when the body stands upright, the tight muscles will pull on the lower back, leading to pain. Exercise can help stretch these tight muscles, as well as strengthen the muscles around the core, all contributing to less pain.

Being physically inactive is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. That's because the heart is a muscular organ, and like all muscles, it needs exercise to perform at its peak.

Exercise increases cardiac output (blood pumped) throughout the body, better delivering nutrients and oxygen to the body and removing toxins and waste out of the body. Fun Fact: At rest your body pumps 1 gallon of blood per minute and during exercise, 4 gallons of blood per minute! You can see how much more oxygen and nutrients can get to your organs, nerves and muscles when you exercise. More importantly, exercise increases the amount of oxygen your body receives and delivers is through the blood to your entire body, especially to your brain! Fun Fact: Your Brain is 2% of your body weight, yet uses 20% of the oxygen!

We can help you get on an exercise routine that works for you, on your schedule! Contact us today to get started.

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