Before having my first child I had all these (slightly naïve) ideas about what I would do after the baby. I planned to be back playing netball as soon as I’d recovered from my c-section, had bought a jogging stroller (ha!) and had visions of working out at the gym while my baby was at the crèche. That’s what new mums did right? Then of course reality set in.
You don’t need me to tell you that life with a newborn is hard work and, for most of us, exercise quickly goes very far down the list of priorities. The focus becomes getting though the day and hopefully getting a few hours sleep here and there. That being said, getting out for some light exercise is great for your health and your sanity. If it involves a bit of fresh air and talking to other adults then it’s even better.
Regardless of how you gave birth, your body will have been though a lot and it is important to take things easy and seek advice from your GP before starting any kind of exercise. If they give you the all clear then there are a few easy ideas for new mums that you can start with.
4 easy exercise ideas for new mums
This sounds so obvious but walking really is one of the easiest ways to exercise with the baby. It gets both of you out of the house, can (hopefully) help baby to sleep and it’s a great activity to do with friends. Most areas have stroller waking meet ups which are a great way to meet other new mums, but if they don’t then why not look into starting one yourself. The advantage of walking is that it’s easy to start off simple increase the intensity as you feel up to it. Walk further, walk faster, add in a few hills or even jog!
2. Exercise Videos
If you get the OK from your doctor, finding the time is to exercise is often the next problem. I know that I had to fit in exercise around my baby’s nap schedule (or lack of!), so this is where the exercise DVD’s came in handy, or a few quality YouTube videos. The huge advantage is that you do them in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace and you can easily press pause if baby wakes. Don’t think that these are any less intense than a gym class – get the right ones and they can be brutal! Try starting off with some simple yoga or Pilates videos.
3. Baby friendly classes
Mums and bubs classes are becoming big business, and they are popping up everywhere. These are fitness classes that generally are baby friendly, incorporate strollers or baby wearing into the workout or have a a playpen and toys for older children. I’ve even seen some of these classes provide a babysitter.
Swimming is another activity where you definitely need the approval of your GP before beginning (they normally recommend waiting 7-10 days after a natural birth – longer for C-sections). Swimming is a perfect gentle way to ease back into exercise. If you’re not up to swimming laps, water aerobics classes cater for all abilities and offer a good low impact alternative. Many pools also offer a crèche service during their classes.
However you choose to exercise, take it easy, stick to an intensity level that you are comfortable with and remember that it will take time to build back up to your pre-baby fitness level.
Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her tips with us. Carol is the proud mum of two toddlers who have LOTS of energy.