10 Timeless Health and Fitness Secrets We Learned from Mom from 10 Timeless Health and Fitness Secrets We Learned from Mom
10 Timeless Health and Fitness Secrets We Learned from Mom
10 Timeless Health and Fitness Secrets We Learned from Mom
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: mom knows best, and that’s why her tips for a healthy and happy life are ageless and enduring. And lucky for us, the healthy habits our moms teach us are likely to become our own. We celebrate moms—on mother’s day and throughout the year—because they share boundless love and wisdom throughout our lives. The following “secrets” are just a few of the timeless health and fitness tips they’ve bestowed upon us over the years.
Go Play Outside
Think back to your childhood: we bet you can hear your mom asking you to “please shut off the TV (or computer, or video games) and go outside for a little bit.” Likely, her request wasn’t just because she wanted some peace and quiet; she knew that getting some fresh air was important to your health. Rebecca P. Cohen, an outdoor lifestyle expert and author of “Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids,” says that spending time outside is important to your overall well-being. “Fifteen minutes outside is a daily tool in my toolbox and a gift my mother gave to me that I now give to myself and my children,” she said.
Take a Deep Breath
Moms arguably have one of the most high-stress jobs of all time, which makes the fact that they can teach us how to be calm and level-headed all the more incredible. “My mom begins every morning with quiet time— reading her devotional, praying and writing in a spiritual journal,” says Eliza Cross, a lifestyle writer and author of HappySimpleLiving.com. “She is one of the calmest, most centered people I know.” Cross says that she’s followed this example for years—getting up early to reflect, meditate and write in a gratitude journal with her morning coffee. “This practice helps me focus on the special moments and simple blessings that surround me.”
Always Wear Sunscreen
Maybe your mom didn’t make you wear it every day, but you likely have memories of being lathered up before you were allowed to take a dip in the water or meet up with your friends at the park. “I taught my kids to put on sunscreen every morning, 365 days a year,” says Dr. Cynthia Bailey, a board-certified dermatologist, president and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology, Inc. and founder of DrBaileySkinCare.com. “As grade-school-age kids they began to do it every morning as they got ready for their day.” She says this is an important daily habit because our skin is susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays pretty much any time it’s exposed, and even on cloudy days.
Take Care of Yourself
The healthiest and happiest of moms know that their kids can’t rely on them if they’re not healthy, which is why by taking care of themselves, moms teach us the importance of staying healthy and fit. Christen Cooper, a mom of two, registered dietitian and doctoral candidate in nutrition at Columbia University explains that moms (and dads) who take good care of their health serve as exemplary role models for their children. “And these habits are, in most cases, the habits that our kids will develop,” she said.
Follow Your Dreams
“My mother is a very intelligent and hard-working clinical psychologist, and she always told my sister and me that what she wanted is for us to find our own paths,” says Julia Mossbridge, creator of the Choice Compass app, which helps people make more “joyful” choices in life. She said it was her mom’s encouragement that led her to become a cognitive neuroscientist and inventor, which eventually led her to research how heart activity relates to our mood and life in order to develop the app. “All because of my mother's insistence on finding our own paths,” Mossbridge said.
Sure, mom knew it wasn’t smart to have dessert before dinner, but she also knew the importance of small indulgences. “When it came to sweets and candy my mom always told me to ‘eat chocolate’ which she called a ‘food' so I wasn't just filling myself with sugar and no nutrients,” said Jes Wade a New York City based fashion designer and mother of two. “I have translated that to remembering to indulge an irresistible sugar craving with a protein-packed candy, like peanut or almond or plain M&M's—which are available everywhere and are not the devil—and I encourage my daughters to do the same.” Wade explained that she teachers her daughters that a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, emphasizing the importance of staying active and eating well while also embracing indulgent treats every now and then.
Always Eat Breakfast
Mom was right on point with this tip, because a large body of research continues to show that eating breakfast can improve your health in many ways. “My mother always made sure that my brothers and I never left the house without eating breakfast, and that is definitely a healthy eating habit I practice to this day,” said Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating. “Breakfast was different on a day-to-day basis and included everything from eggs to French toast. While some of the breakfast foods we ate weren't always the healthiest, we still developed the habit of eating breakfast every single day. Even when days were hectic and we didn't have time to sit down, we were always given at least a granola bar to leave the house with.”
Eat Your Veggies
Let’s face it: we can all hear out mother’s voice spouting this advice (except, back then it was more of a command) at the dinner table. “Another healthy habit I gained from my mother was including a salad at most meals,” Ficek said. “A variety of lettuces were always stocked in the fridge. It was a great way to use up all the leftover vegetables in the fridge, too. My mother even made sure to make her own dressing to go with the salad. This was typically an oil and vinegar based dressing—much healthier than those store bought dressings”
Set a Good Example
No doubt, many of us look up to our moms, so it’s not surprising that we look to them as a role model from a very young age. Cooper said research has shown that eating behaviors and health behaviors are largely learned from parents, so by setting a good example, moms teach their kids not only how to be healthy, but also the importance of teaching others through our actions. “My mothering philosophy is always practice what I long to preach,” says Carla Birnberg, co-author of “What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms.” “And it has broken my heart to see how sweet it is when I see my nine-year-old now following suit without my ever having said a word.” Birnberg said she sets a good example by making simple choices like taking the stairs versus the elevator and eating nutritious foods. “All serve to reinforce this approach to healthy living,” she added.
Nothing Beats a Home-Cooked Meal
“My mom definitely taught me the importance of making healthy home cooked meals,” said Birnberg’s “What You Can When You Can” co-author, Roni Noone. No matter how old you are, a home-cooked meal from mom (or dad) can simply never be topped. And not only because it’s downright delicious, but mom’s cooking reminds us of how eating at home can promote a healthier lifestyle.