This is the summary from an article posted on Science Daily based on a study by Emily Mailey:
Fathers experience the same exercise barriers as mothers: family responsibilities, guilt, lack of support, lack of time, scheduling constraints and work, a researcher has found. Although barriers for both parents are similar, working moms reported an additional hurdle. Mothers cited work and scheduling constraints as more of a barrier than fathers. Many active fathers found time to exercise during the workday, but mothers reported fear of being judged by co-workers for leaving to workout and lack of time to freshen up after a workout.
Interesting read, and a nice lead into the future of Bold Vigor (I’ve been close to shutting it down) now that I have my new writing site up and running. Thing is, I’m not ready to shutter this site. I’m a fitness enthusiast that understands the challenges of maintaining a fitness habit as a working parent. I view this site as a way to help others, and myself, work through those challenges.
Personally, I was doing well maintaining a decent level of fitness even with the challenges of work and family commitments until about a year ago. That’s when I took a new job with increased responsibilities and a longer commute. My workouts have suffered since.
One reason I’m working out less is because my previous company had a fitness center with showers on site. That benefit seemed minor at the time but in hindsight was a great perk of working for that company. The ability to sneak in a workout from work, even if just a couple times a week, helped me maintain a good fitness habit. I absolutely believe that it made me a more productive worker as well. Those short workouts helped alleviate stress and provided a shot of energy that propelled me through the rest of the day. They also meant a little more time with family because I wasn’t trying to get a workout in as soon as I got home from work.
That changed with my current employer and as mentioned, my workouts have suffered. For the better part of the last year I’ve succumbed to the notion that “it is what it is” and resolved myself to the fact that 3-4 days a week is sufficient (it might be, especially if you are just starting out, but I was use to more).
Somewhere along the way, I struggled with some workouts and reasoned that it was a byproduct of working out less. Again, I resolved myself to the fact it had to be that way. Then I started having some knee issues and soon convinced myself that I was getting old, breaking down. Workouts became a chore. My fitness level regressed and I continued to convince myself that it had to be that way.
Well the hell with that. Constraints. Excuses. They’ll always be available but if you want something badly enough you find ways to make it happen. In my next post I’ll share a fitness event that helped me break out of the mindset I’d established over the past year. From there I’ll share a lofty goal and how it ties to the plan for Bold Vigor as a fitness site. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this from the conclusion of the aforementioned article:
"Regardless of their activity levels, parents view their families as the top priority," Mailey said. "Active parents were able to see exercise as something that contributed to the good of the family and that was not at odds with being good parents. As a result, they felt less guilty about taking time to exercise and were more apt to prioritize physical activity because they valued the benefits."
I couldn’t agree more…