17 Jan 5 ways to fit exercise into your day when you have a baby
New Mum exercise
As any mum knows, babies take up a lot of time and energy. The thought of trying to incorporate some exercise into the day just seems inconceivable. However it might be hard, but it’s not impossible. Sometimes we have to get a little creative but the benefits, physically and mentally, are worth the work and time investment. Below are some ideas for how to fit that elusive exercise into an already full day.
Use naps to your advantage
Yes the standard advice is ‘nap when baby naps’ and if you feel you definitely need to sleep then absolutely go for it! But if you’re wanting to get back to being active, baby’s nap time is an ideal time. Choose a postnatal safe routine that fits into the time you have available – if baby usually naps for an hour, choose a 30 minute workout so you have time to rest, or do other items on your to-do list afterwards if you need to.
What if baby never naps? For those who have babies who don’t cooperate on the napping front, see tip 2.
Workout with your baby
There are so many ways to incorporate baby into your workout and keep them entertained at the same time. They’re a readily available weight so pop them in a sling and briskly walk, squat and lunge. Lift them (safely) up in a shoulder press movement for an upper body workout. Pop them on the floor and turn press ups into a fun game, giving them a quick kiss each time you lower down in the movement. If they are robust enough to sit, pop them on your hips and use them for weighted glute bridges or hip thrusts.
Not only does working out with baby allow you to fit in some strengthening work, it’s also a bonding opportunity and baby grows up seeing exercise as the norm!
Break it down and make it easy
Your ideal workout might be an hour long, but finding a full hour free just for exercise can be super tough with a baby. Rather than allowing that to put you off, break workouts down into manageable chunks. You might not have a full hour available, but 10 or 15 minutes here and there might just be doable especially to fit in the core and pelvic floor work that all new mums need to prioritise.
Invest in some simple home equipment like a set of dumbbells or resistance bands, have them easily accessible and grab them when you can. If chores are taking over then add some simple movements in while you do them. You might feel a bit silly lunging and squatting around your kitchen as you cook but your body (and mind) might thank you for it!
Get out and play
Once you have children, parks will become a regular feature of your life very quickly. Well, all that equipment shouldn’t be reserved just for the little ones! There are so many opportunities at the park to get active. Climb on the equipment, swing on the monkey bars, lift your kids on and off the equipment. Exercise doesn’t have to be formal so make it into play and you’ll be working out without even noticing.
Book some time out
Get your partner, friends or family involved and have them watch the baby for a couple of hours while you go out and do a class that you love. Joining a class has the bonus of being dedicated exercise time but also dedicated adult time. Going to a class without your baby can be a much needed bit of respite from ‘being mummy’ 24-7 and might be the boost you need to get through some of the tougher parts of life with baby.
However you choose to incorporate exercise into your life, the most important thing is that you ditch the ‘mum guilt’ – if you want to exercise, do it without feeling bad, there’s nothing selfish about wanting some time to do something for yourself. Equally if you have days when you just want to sit down and eat cake with your friends, do that too, guilt free! Finding balance when you have a baby is tough, but little steps really can lead to big progress.
AUTHOR: EMILY GILLILAND
PERSONAL TRAINER, SURREY
Emily is a personal trainer, who specialises in pregnancy and postnatal fitness. She is also a sports massage therapist.