After Glow


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Even though it's in my job description to keep fit and exercise daily, (or at least "often"), I don't always get the chance to get in a workout, take a yoga class, or go for a run when life gets in the way and things become a little more stressful on the homefront...you know what I mean.  With 3 small kids hanging off of me, challenging my every second breath, and a business to run, my life is all about managing stress, and choosing between Me-time, and Mommy-time.  Somehow, there is never any shortage of Mommy-time.  However, that Me-time seems to slide off my list before I even have a chance to blink.  But when I do have it all in control (a-hem, it does happen), and am seemingly attaining the un-attainable ‘balancing act' of motherhood, my choice for ME usually consists of exercise, girlfriends...therapy, or all of the above combined.


To me EXERCISE IS THERAPY...(don't tell my girlfriends, or they'll start charging me for treadmill time).  There is nothing like a good power walk, in the fresh air, with some girls gabbing, to cure even the worst sleep deprivation, or latest husband take-a-thon.  There are more statistically and scientifically proven reasons that exercise is like therapy, than just the obvious" it's fun to go to a spin class with a friend", though don't knock it till you try it!  Aside from exercise being a release of negative energy, (you know STRESS), and aiding in every woman's quest to a flatter tummy and thinner thighs, it's mood enhancing qualities are enough to change your spirits from hopeless to empowered...and beyond.  At least that's how it feels to me!


Here are a couple of reason's you can add exercise to your list of "excusable wellness necessities", along with your masseuse, your chiropractor, your eye doc, your dentist, your aesthetician and your...therapist, without needing a doctor's note.


1.  Exercise increases endorphins. Endorphins are happy hormones, that can actually improve your mood immediately.  It's been proven to cure depression (including postpartum depression), anxiety, and stress related disorders like IBS, and ulcers.

2.  Exercise will help you lose weight and tone your muscles, increasing your strength and endurance for...all those kids hanging off of you, demanding more Mommy-time.  Also increasing your self-esteem and feeling of empowerment and self-assuredness.

3.  Exercise increases brain function, enabling you to focus longer, especially on those extra-long treadmill therapy sessions...

4.  Exercise increases your cravings for healthy food and water.  So that you are fueling yourself with high-grade fuel for optimal performance....for said treadmill therapy sessions.

5.  Exercise done in groups is a bonding experience.  It motivating to grab a friend, and sweat it all out, while you ‘get it all out'.

6.  Exercise has been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease risk of heart disease (which is higher in women than men, by the way) and increase bone-density, which decreases after each child you have. (Just a few more scientific reasons to do it)

7.  Finally, exercise is therapy because you can do it with a group and have some fun with it, or on your own, in a more meditative state, both increasing your quality of life.


So if your requirements for a successful therapy session include your need for validation (self-confidence), your need to vent (doing it with a friend), and your need for clarity (endorphins and brain chemicals), exercise seems to have all the necessary components...minus the psycho-analysis and well, the couch.

So, who wants a therapy session?  I do, I do!!


Julie Watson is the owner and founder of AfterGlow Health & Fitness in Toronto's Hillcrest Village.  She is a certified Personal Trainer, specializing in Pre and Postnatal Fitness. Her 3 small children are the reason Julie strives everyday to stay healthy and strong.  She wants every mom to know that a mother's positive energy and self-image can improve and change the way our children feel about themselves. You can read more about Julie and AfterGlow by checking out her website at www.afterglowtoronto.com and subscribing to her blog.

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