You know that aerobic exercise is good for you. It has a positive impact on your physical health and your emotional well-being. Getting out for a run, a brisk walk, or riding your bike increases your heart rate and strengthens your body. Women who run report better sleep patterns, more focus at work, and less stress. Running allows women to feel strong and empowered in a world of comparison and beauty image. It also allows them to feel happy and connected: running with a friend or a group provides social contact. Well, running is also good for the people around you! Mothers who run are powerful role models to the girls in their lives and a new study also shows that active pregnant mothers are playing an influential role in the future health and well-being of their babies.
Kids pay attention what their parents do, and girls especially use their mothers as role models for behaviour. Alyce Barnes, an education researcher at the University of Newcastle in Australia coauthored a recent study that has linked active moms to active daughters, and how a mom’s physical activity has a direct effect on her daughter. “Importantly, our study has shown that mothers have an important influence on their daughter's physical activity in relation to their parenting for physical activity and behaviors," Barnes says. The study of 40 girls ages 5 to 12 found that those with more active mothers were more physically active themselves. And the more time a mom spent being sedentary, the longer her daughter spent in front of a screen. (http://tribune.com.pk/story/919912/mothers-best-role-models-for-daughters/). It’s not just your own daughter, but girls in general who need to see women taking care of themselves, being physically active and having fun. Actions speak louder than words in this case!
Not only does your running show your children to value a physically active lifestyle, but if you are a pregnant mother, your running may be creating the perfect environment to support the long term physical activity of your baby! In a recent study from the Baylor College of medicine, (Born to run? Study suggests love of exercise starts in the womb. https://www.bcm.edu/news/molecular-and-human-genetics/study-love-of-exercise-starts-in-womb) researchers found that female mice who ran (on mouse wheels!) while they were pregnant, had offspring who were more likely to be physically active adults. The study supports the idea that fetal brain development is affected during pregnancy and even the fetal environment is important! (From that same article is the observation from…”several expert groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists already recommend that, in the absence of complications, pregnant women get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day. “I think our results offer a very positive message,” said Waterland. “If expectant mothers know that exercise is not only good for them but also may offer lifelong benefits for their babies, I think they will be more motivated to get moving.”
Now you can run and feel good and feel good about running!
Lululemon Run Ambassador and LifeSport coach and former pro athlete Lucy Smith is a top level master’s athlete and a mother of 2 active children.
Writing about the art of moving well and the lived experience of a life in sport.