Before my son was born, I worked an 8 to 5 job where I spent my days sitting and staring at a computer and attending meetings. I liked my job, but I found that a desk job was not the best thing for my body. I was often stiff, and I had to occasionally wear a brace on my wrist because of pain. I also had to work hard not to gain a lot of weight. However, becoming a mother and quitting my job has alleviated many of the problems I had.
A desk job usually requires sitting for long periods of time, often staring at a computer, which can be way different than parenting. Some of those differences definitely make parenting better for your body. So whether you sit at a desk all day, you're a stay-at-home parent, a working parent, or anything else, here's some things you should know about why parenting can be healthier than a desk job.
You don't spend much time sitting down.
Small children require attention about every two seconds during the day, so you'll get up more frequently as a parent. Since research shows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body in multiple ways, children can save you a lot of body problems by making you get up all the time.
You get extra exercise
In addition to getting up more, you'll also move more throughout the day. Whether you're chasing the kids around the house, pushing them in a stroller or cleaning up their messes, you can get a lot of extra exercise in addition to your regular exercise routine.
You wear more comfortable clothing
There are no dress shoes required for parenting, and restrictive clothing is optional. You can wear whatever you want because your kids don't care. More comfort equals less strain on your body.
You play more
Play is good for adults as well as children. It helps your brain when you get creative and imaginative and can boost your mood as well. Also, you spend more time outside You don't get a lot of fresh air when you spend all day cooped up in an office. With kids, you have the opportunity to go outside with them so they can run around. This gives you fresh air and vitamin D, both of which are important for your health.
You have motivation to eat better
Instead of grabbing lunch during the short break you have from your desk job, you can make your meals. And because you want your children to eat healthy, you end up eating healthier too. But remember not to eat all your kids' leftovers as this may be one contributing factor to the fact that moms eat more calories per day than their non-mom counterparts.
Your self-esteem gets a boost
You'll never get a bad performance review from your infant. Children are much more forgiving than your boss, and they often worship the ground you walk on (at least until they become teenagers). They are great self-esteem boosters, which is good for your overall mood and health.
You laugh more
You've heard that laughter is the best medicine. And unless your job involves a lot of comedy, you'll spend a lot more time laughing with your kids (and even more time laughing at the funny things they say and do) than you would sitting at a desk.
You have less stress (in some ways)
Although parenting can be stressful sometimes, there's no boss breathing down your neck, no deadlines, and no loaded inbox of papers and e-mails. Even for parents who do work, there is a benefit. One study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that men with healthy family relationships were less likely to have stress-related health problems.
You have encouragement to get regular checkups.
As a parent, you spend a significant amount of time taking your children to the doctor's office for regular checkups and when they get sick. This should be a good reminder to you that you need to be getting your own checkups.
Your immune system is strengthened.
Having children makes you less likely to get sick when exposed to a virus, according to research done at Carnegie Mellon University. In multiple studies where adults were exposed to a cold virus, the parents were half as likely to catch the cold than the non-parents. The researchers speculated that this may be because being a parent brings reduces stress levels and increases happiness, which can boost the immune system.
Your brain stays young.
Being a parent means you're constantly having to learn new things as your child develops. This helps keep your brain young and healthy because it is constantly developing. And while you can obviously learn new things at work, the rate is not usually as high unless you're constantly changing jobs.
There's nothing wrong with having a desk job, of course, but it's nice to know that there are some perks to being a parent as well.