As the COVID-19 pandemic has turned schedules upside down, the impact on mothers has been substantial. But a survey I conducted of fellow mother runners has found that a whopping 98 percent of us have continued to run despite increased challenges, such as having kids home full-time and challenging work-from-home situations. Mother runners shared that stress reduction, increased happiness, and gratitude are motivators as they get creative to fit in runs while managing increased demands at home.
The reasons moms continue to pound the pavement no matter what hurdles are put in front of them? Results point to the mental health pay-off, which is perceived as substantial with positive impacts to the family.
Key findings in the study include:
- 60 percent of the moms report that running has helped manage stress during this time, modeling healthy behavior for their children. As one respondent noted: “It makes me feel strong at a time when I feel helpless and sad.”
- 60 percent also report that running makes them a happier and more patient mom: “I feel good about myself and my kids are learning healthy habits!”
- 20 percent say other family members have started running during this time, including training for virtual races together: “My son runs back and forth in the backyard and it makes him so happy to be ‘fast like mommy!’”
- Nearly half of respondents say the pandemic has given them newfound gratitude for the ability to run, noting they miss running with other mother runners: “After the pandemic, I won’t ever take for granted that a mom will always be there for me to run with!!”
Related: Check out how mother runners overcome obstacles to exercise
Mother Runners community members share how they navigate challenges to schedule runs and commit to consistent fitness routines. These moms have employed tactics such as stroller runs (11%), runs with kids on bikes (13%), treadmill runs (14%), early morning runs (16%), and lunch runs (10%) (to name a few) to ensure exercise.
“Training has become a joint endeavor, rather than time that I spend away from my family. That’s so nice!” shared one mom.
None of the survey respondents, all moms, mentioned weight as an impetus for running. Roughly 90 percent of moms shared that the mental and physical health benefits for themselves and their families were a motivating factor for continuing to run, according to the survey. Knowing that running makes them a better mom and imprints this healthy habit on their children makes going for a run crucial during this time—no matter the barrier.
A summary of the study can be found here. Thanks to all that participated!