by Michelle Collie
We certainly can’t deny this fact- mothers are important to everyone. The daffodils and blossom of spring lead me to believe that this is the perfect season to celebrate the mothers in our lives. My life is surrounded by amazing mothers— my friends, colleagues, in-laws, my sister, and my own mother. The joy and challenges of motherhood are similar to the joy and challenges of being a runner. Maybe that’s why many mothers are runners and consider running a significant part of their life.
Mothers run 5Ks and marathons. They may run every day or just once a week. Some mothers run slow and steady and only when the sun shines while others run mighty fast, in all of nature’s elements. Mothers run for their physical health, weight loss or maintenance, for mental health and stress relief. Many run for the solitude and opportunity to think or in groups to foster friendships. Mothers run to increase their energy and to help them relax and sleep. Some run to set an example for their children, to help our next generation understand and respect what it is to take care of one’s body and mind.
Despite the benefits, many mothers struggle to find the time to run or they feel guilty for choosing to go for a run over spending time with their children. However, a recent study (published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) was the first to indicate a direct link between the activity level of a mother and her child. The study analyzed the physical activity levels of 554 mothers and preschoolers and was the first to show children are not naturally active and take cues from parents in regard to physical activity. Perhaps this study will extinguish any guilt a mother has about taking the time to run! I would propose we encourage mothers to understand exercising as an important responsibility. There are days when time seems limited and excuses come easily. But making exercise a priority and part of your daily schedule is important for not only for mothers, but for their children, our community, our future. Whether you are a mother or not, encourage and support the mothers in your life to stay active.
I run for every reason mentioned here. Last week my reasons for running included stress relief, listening to my book, burning the calories from the ice cream I enjoyed, and because I am committed to a training plan. Finally, I run because I can— to celebrate, honor and cherish my health, my role as a mother and to help me stay on pace!
Michelle Collie PT, DPT, MS, OCS is a Physical Therapist, the owner and CEO of Performance Physical Therapy. She lives on the East Side of Providence with her husband and 2 children. She can be reached at [email protected]