Before I had my daughter, I loved to run. I ran cross country all through middle school and played soccer where I constantly ran for about seven years. Even through college, I continued to run in my spare time. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I knew pregnancy (and motherhood) wasn't going to stop me from continuing my favorite pastime. As long as it was physically safe, I'd continue hitting the pavement. After all, there are many reasons to continue running, but easily the best reason is the fact that running becomes even better after you have kids.
When I ran with my daughter for the first time, I realized that running wasn't, and never would be, the same. Instead of being a simple source of exercise, it was something I could now share with my kid, too. After she learned to walk, she quickly learned how to run and now we can run together, on a track or in the yard, and when I look at her I see a giant smile on her face. That smile lights up my world. Likewise, running is still something I can do for myself, and only myself. I get to continue something that makes me feel like "me," and when you become a mother, maintaining your individuality is crucial.
While there are plenty of people who find new things to love once they have kids (I mean, priorities do change), I personally think that not only remembering the things that gave you joy prior to becoming a mom, and maintaining their existence in your every day life as a mom, is important. That's definitely why, for me, running is better now that I'm a mother. I feel like myself, and I get to share something with my daughter. Well, and I have the following things to look forward to, also.
Running Gives You Quiet Time To Yourself
When you have kids, there is no such thing as "quiet time" anymore, except when they are asleep and who knows how long that time will actually last. While running may seem like a chore to some, it can honestly be a reprieve from the chaos that is day-to-day life.
Running Is A Great Way To Stay Healthy....
I like to be healthy and I have always enjoyed running. After I had my baby, running was a great way for me to get back in touch with my postpartum body, and feel great about the body that had done something truly amazing. Plus, it's better than crunches, because those are the freakin' worst.
Is weight loss a bonus? Sure, if that's what you're going for. But running also reduces stress and anxiety, and can prevent certain diseases. Running is less about a number on the scale and more about being healthy.
...And Feel Great
Being body positive, and setting a body positive example, means that I care less about how I (or anyone else) looks, and more about how I feel. Running makes me feel good, and that is something I can't put a price on. When my run is over and I'm covered in sweat and high on endorphins, I feel like I've been on a mini-vacation and, well, when you're a mom that's invaluable.
Running Can Help You Set A Positive Example
Kids love running. Maybe not long distances, but definitely short sprints. As soon as my daughter learned how to walk, she was trying to spring around the house. Honestly, there's nothing better than watching your kid run without a care in the world (and little-to-no coordination).
If you run, you can set a great example of just how fun and beneficial running can be. Showing your kid that physical activity isn't a chore, and certainly isn't a "punishment" for eating certain foods, will encourage them to stay active and, well, that's never a bad thing.
Running Can Keep Your Kid Occupied
If your child is anything like my daughter, they want to go with you when you run. This means you get to do something you love to do, and your kid stays occupied (especially if you use a stroller). In fact, chances are you'll run your kid to sleep, and that's the dream, you guys.
Running Is Something You Can Share With Your Kid
Running is a pretty natural thing to kids, so sharing that experience with them is a wonderful way to bond. Who knows, it could end up being the "thing" you always do together.
Running Can Become A Family Event
As they get older, they can begin to participate in family runs or larger, kid-family events. Many organizations have started adding "kid events," in order to make races or marathons or "dashes" more family friendly, even for little ones who can't do too much distance but still want to participate.
Running Helps Your Kid Sleep Better At Night
Look, I'm not saying you should take up running in order to tire your kid out and get a decent night's sleep, but it sure is a bonus. In fact, it's arguably the best part of running after you have a kid. Whether it's the fresh air or the physical activity, I guarantee you; your kid has a higher chance of sleeping through the night after they've been on a run with you. Score.