Remember the days when you woke early to go to the gym? Or how about lacing up your trainers at a moment’s notice to get in another run? Your time was your own and your schedule yours to manipulate. With a baby or toddler on board, waking early may still be in the cards, but for a completely different reason. Still, you’ll want to maintain good physical fitness habits not only for your own good health, but for your budding family, too. Taking good care of yourself is essential to taking good care of your family.
Exercise Does a Body Good
Of course, we know that being physically active offers a wealth of benefits for our bodies and minds. As a new mommy, the benefits are significant and varied. Your body has just undergone the transformation of a lifetime. That little miracle may have shown you who’s boss during your pregnancy, and now it’s time to take back control! Be reminded, however, that your post-pregnancy body remains vulnerable to injury so as with any exercise regimen, it’s best to discuss with your healthcare provider what level and type of activity is best for you.
While you’re up to your elbows in diapers and onesies and the reality of getting back into a physical fitness routine feels light years away, consider this as motivation:
- Regular activity boosts your mood and your energy level.
- Remaining active can help manage or prevent symptoms of postpartum depression.
- Specific exercises like Kegel and other bone and muscle strengthening exercises will help your body regain its strength and tone following the demands of pregnancy.
- You’ll be a good role model for your kiddos by incorporating physical exercise into your daily routines.
Find the Time for Physical Activity
It may be easier than you think to sneak physical activity into your schedule. Planning to exercise or purposefully including some type of physical activity is key to ensuring that it becomes a regular part of your day. That might mean jumping into your workout clothes while baby is napping. Whether you follow a structured routine online, or make up your own, you can begin with as little as 10 minutes a day and work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes per week.
Going out for a walk is another great way to keep physically active. Both you and your baby will benefit from being outdoors and it’s another excellent bonding opportunity when it’s just the two of you. And just as other activities like bath time or story time have habitually become a part of your day, make exercise a habit also. Routines bring value to both kids and adults, and this one comes with a long list of benefits. Mark your calendar and make appointments with yourself for keeping yourself physically fit. With the demands that motherhood brings, this is a must do!
Mommy and Me Exercises
No need to go it alone. You probably have a very willing pint-sized partner looking up at you eagerly looking forward to doing absolutely anything with you. Your workout doesn’t need to be complicated. Many basic exercise moves can easily be done with baby or toddler in tow. And let’s be clear; Daddy’s are welcomed too!
- If you are a runner, you’ll appreciate having a jogging stroller that will let you continue this form of fitness. It will be an exciting adventure for your little one, who just might catch a few winks along the way.
- Push-ups may never be so much fun when your toddler is beneath you catching kisses. Or have him scoot through the ‘tunnel’ while you’re in the up position.
- Need to add some resistance to your routine? Have your toddler sit on your stomach while you do crunches. Of course, his tummy must be tickled on the way up!
- Dance, dance, dance! This is especially fun as a family activity. Have a dance competition, make up your own choreography to favorite family tunes and enjoy being silly. Move and grove wherever the rhythm takes you (and shed plenty of calories while you’re at it).
- All kinds of exercises can be done while holding your babe in your arms including lunges, squats, bicep curls and overhead presses to name a few.
- You can easily substitute the word exercise for play. Get outside and kick a ball to each other, create and run through a mini obstacle course, play tag, have a jumping contest on a trampoline or climb a jungle gym.
- Check out the offerings at your local YMCA, recreation or community center. You may find a baby and me yoga class or swim lessons where you can splish-splash together in the pool.
- If more is merrier, round up some new moms and schedule regular get togethers. Take turns hosting at home or meet at a convenient park location. Include action play like forming yoga positions, jumping jacks, balance challenges or slow-slow/fast-fast marching in place. Watch the giggles erupt!
As your little guy grows, adjust your physical fitness games and routines to accommodate his developing skill set, interests and strength. Just keep moving!
The reasons for exercising on a regular basis are many. Maybe you need to shed a few pounds of baby weight. Maybe you’re anxious to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans or regain your strength. Whatever your reason there’s an exercise to fulfill the need. And best of all, you can do it with your best little buddy.