While family members ponder what gifts to give mom on Mother’s Day, let’s turn the tables and ponder what gift mom could give to her family. Her love, of course, but what about her own good health?
So moms, as you soak in everyone’s love and gratitude this Mother’s Day, think about ways that you can be – and stay – healthy. It’s a gift that you’ll be giving yourself, as well as to your family.
Here are five useful tips for being and staying a healthier mom:
1. Be goal-oriented: Sticking with an exercise regimen can be a challenge. If you’re a super busy mom (is there any other kind?), the challenge can be all the more daunting. One way to stay motivated is to link your fitness exercises to a goal that generates positive feelings. For example, if you need to lose weight, set a reasonable target and time frame, such as “lose five pounds in a month.” Celebrate victory when you reach your goal. If you’ve been yearning for more quiet time alone, consider treadmill or yoga sessions. If you seek more family time, invite the kids to join you on a brisk evening walk.
2. Eat fruits and vegetables that are diet-friendly: Eating more fruits and vegetables enhances health, but which ones are best for helping shed a few pounds? According to the Centers for Disease Control it’s the fruits and vegetables with high water (and fiber) content, such as watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, and zucchini. The CDC offers an online calculator for determining how many fruits and veggies an individual needs to eat each day based on age, gender and activity level.
3. Get your calcium: The body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth and to carry out important health functions, notes the National Institutes of Health. Milk, yogurt and cheese are the main dietary sources of calcium in the U.S. Kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage are good vegetable sources. Women older than 50 years of age, in particular, need adequate calcium intake to stay healthy. The NIH recommends 1,000 milligram of calcium per day for adults 19 to 50 years old and 1,200 milligrams per day for women 51 and older. To attain those amounts, you can eat a variety of calcium-rich foods or take supplements.
4. Get more zzz’s, please: Many moms complain about lack of sleep, but they’re not the only ones. Sleep deprivation has become nothing short of a public health epidemic in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. The organization blames, among other factors, “’round-the-clock work schedules and access to technology.” Sound familiar? A solution: don’t keep laptops, tablets, cell phones and TVs running right up to bedtime. The CDC also urges good sleep-hygiene habits: avoid large meals, caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, go to bed and get up at about the same time each day, even on weekends, and get as close to eight hours of sleep as possible.
5. Remember to Relax: What mom doesn’t encounter stress? Whether you’re a mom with active kids, or a mom caring for elderly relatives, or both, you have reason to feel physically and emotionally drained. Stress can play a role in chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease, notes the Mayo Clinic. However, there are simple behavior and lifestyle choices that can curtain those ailments. You can start by becoming more active, from brisk walks in the morning to more leisurely strolls at night. Other health tips for moms from the Mayo Clinic include finding reasons to smile and laugh, connecting with family and friends, and learning to assert yourself.
Remember moms: By putting yourself – and your health – first you’ll actually be doing something great for your kids, too.