Was getting more exercise part of your New Year’s resolution? I don’t know about you, but by a week or two after the New Year, I have already forgotten or given up on my resolutions. By August they are long gone. However, I remember my choice all those months ago and I want to share it. There’s a new way to to treat ourselves: kindly. I think we could all use a break from our very loud, sometimes mean, inner critic telling us all that we do wrong.

For that reason I did not list “losing weight” or “looking better” as one of my resolutions and I am not going to put it on this top ten list of reasons I need to work out. There are easily ten other reasons!

I’m more productive when I exercise. I get more done, quicker. Why? Studies prove that exercise increases concentration, enables us to soak in more information, work more efficiently, and be more productive. #ProductiveMom

Reduces my stress levels. I  don’t know about you, but when I am stressed I can whip myself into a frenzy and get too busy to exercise. That’s when I need it the most. Virtually any form of exercise, from a walk to aerobics or yoga, can act as a stress reliever. It’s like meditation in motion—when I’m done I’ve often forgotten the day’s irritations because I’ve been focused on a single task—making it through the exercise. After exercising,  I am energized and remain calmer. #CalmMom

Helps manage my autoimmune diseases. While it is counterintuitive, exercise can help control pain that’s associated with various conditions, including chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia and lupus. And if you don’t have any issues–exercise reduces the risk of chronic disease.#HealthyMom

Good for bone density. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Physical activity helps you build muscles and strong bones and may also help prevent osteoporosis. I’m short, I don’t need to be hunched over as well. #TallMom

It’s a memory booster. Exercise causes the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. It improves brain function and protects memory and thinking skills—and Lord knows, I need that! #SmartMom

Gives me a feeling of achievement. Sticking with something and seeing improvements in strength or competence makes me more confident. That confidence can flow into all other parts of life which is a pretty good feeling. #ConfidentMom

Strengthens bond with your partner. Going for hikes, walking the dog or going kayaking opens up communication, gives you something fun to experience together, and creates an even stronger bond. And that can only lead to good things! #HappilyeverafterMom

Balances moods. I’m relatively even keeled and not moody, but I can’t say that for everyone in my family. While it’s nice to know that science has proven that exercise balances moods, it’s even better when you see it at work in yourself or your family. It reduces irritability, decreases anxiety and raises the happiness factor. Basically it’s free therapy! #NiceMom

Helps me sleep better. Sleep is a good thing. Having healthy and regular exercise patterns helps your biological clock set itself, and leads to ease in falling asleep and sleeping through the night. We live in a busy world, and most of us can use as much sleep as we can get. #BrighteyedMom

Makes me feel GREAT. My endorphins kick in and I am a happy mamma. Happy mamma leads to happy baby which leads to happy family. #HappyMom

Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, relax the mind and body, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. It can also improve your sleep which all moms need. All of these exercise benefits can ease stress levels and offer a sense of control over your body and your life.  And what mom doesn’t want that?

Dana Baker is a parent and teen coach, a writer and a not-so-perfect mom of two great kids.  She offers a non judgmental ear and real life observations and advice that help you navigate the up, the downs and the downright uglies of parenting. Her insightful ness comes with a good dose of humor and the simple recognition that no matter how hard we may try, none of us is a perfect parent.