Tantrums, dirty diapers, endless negotiations — sometimes the daily grind of motherhood can leave you feeling less than your best. And while working out is a great way to burn calories, not everyone is cut out for the life of a gym rat. Activate your inner athlete by joining a team sport and get in the game! Here are six reasons your body — and mind — will thank you:
A healthier you “I’d rather spend an entire evening playing hockey than even one hour at the gym,” confides Mississauga, Ont., mom of two Susan Spakowski. Women who play team sports may be more likely to stick with a regular exercise program because they know their team needs them. Pam Mazzuca Prebeg, a personal trainer in Toronto, believes that cardio-based sports leagues, such as tennis and soccer, are best for moms looking to stay in top form.
Practise what you preach According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, two-thirds of Canadian kids are inactive. No one sets out on the path to motherhood thinking “Golly, I really hope my little love bug grows up to be overweight,” but if you want your child to get moving, you need to set that example. “Showing your kids how to live an active lifestyle is important,” says Mississauga, Ont., mom Beverly Vanstone, who took up hockey after learning to skate just two years ago.
Feel like yourself again By playing a team sport, you’re dedicating time just for you, which will help you recharge for the emotional and physical demands kids throw at you every day. According to first-time mom Karen Doherty of Toronto, playing volleyball lets her focus on something that is entirely her own: “Playing reminds you of who you were before you became a mom.”
Build social networks Unless your closest gal pals became moms at the same time as you, motherhood will probably put a few of your friendships on the back burner. Joining a league guarantees you’ll have at least one thing in common with your teammates. Not feeling brave enough to take on a team alone? Grab your BFF and join a league together.
Banish baby brain Don’t discount the intellectual aspects of playing team sports. Research has shown that maintaining your physical fitness boosts your brainpower. “Women uncover abilities that they didn’t know they had, including their mental fortitude,” says Dru Marshall, former head coach of the Women’s National Field Hockey Team, “and these lessons carry through life.”
Be a better mom She shoots, she scores! It may not sound like a typical mantra for parenting, but according to three-time Olympic medallist Hayley Wickenheiser, playing hockey has prepared her for the daily challenges of parenting a nine-year-old. “Team sports set you up for dealing with life,” says Wickenheiser, “learning when to lead and when to step back.