Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to give up being in shape. Here are some ideas to help you get an enviably fit mommy body. Some exercises can be done with your baby in tow and others are ideal for times you need some time for yourself.
Get an exercise plan
The ideal postpartum fitness program will include a balance of activities. You can start with cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming, or cycling and then add strength training with weights or other resistance exercise tools. In addition, incorporate flexibility exercises like yoga, Pilates, or a few simple stretches.
If you are unsure how to put a plan together, now is the right time for you to get expert guidance from a personal trainer (read 10 reasons to hire a personal trainer). Even just a few sessions can boost your fitness confidence and ensure you are following a fitness program that is congruent with your goals as well as fitness level. Another option is to get involved with mommy and baby fitness classes. You can workout and bond with your baby at the same time.
Before beginning or reinitiating a fitness program postpartum, check with your doctor. And if you are going to be doing “baby and me” fitness classes, check with the pediatrician to make sure your kiddo is at the right age or developmental stage.
As you know, there are days when getting out of the house to exercise is not an option. Whether you are weather-bound or baby-bound, you can still get fit in the comfort of your home.
In addition to dedicated fitness TV channels on cable, you can take advantage of the many postpartum exercise videos designed for moms who need the convenience of home workouts. For starters, check out ExerciseWithMommy.com for DVDs featuring workouts you can do with your baby or preschooler. For instant gratification, visit ExerciseTV.tv for mini-workouts – featuring core work and even kegels – you can watch from your computer.Don’t despair if you feel like you don’t even have a few minutes to watch a video. You can hold your baby and do squats and stationary lunges (no weights needed!) for your lower body, lift your baby overhead (your kiddo will get a kick out of this) to strengthen your arms and shoulders, or lay on your back and do “baby chest presses.” And during those precious 20-minute nap times, walk up and down your stairs for a cardio boost and utilize that birthing/fitness ball sitting in the corner. Read Exercising on a fitness ball for two key core and pelvic strengthening exercises.
Get your body moving with your baby by using a versatile walking/jogging stroller. Different strollers are designed for different occasions. Do some research on the type of stroller that will best fit your needs (read Baby joggers: All you need to know before you hit the road with your kid in tow). You can also browse a wide variety of jog strollers on the SheKnows.com Shopping Channel.
Another option for outdoor exercise is to strap your baby in a front-pack or backpack baby carrier. Not only are your hands free to swing in sync with your stride, you can burn more calories because you are carrying an extra 10 to 30 pounds. Having your kiddo in tow is also excellent weight bearing activity for your bones. Just be sure the baby carrier fits properly to avoid pulled muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back.
Don’t underestimate how much fun the great outdoors is to your child. Nature is one of the most healthy environments for you and your baby. Exposing your young one to nature early can ensure nature stays a part of your family’s life for years to come. Here are 10 ways to bridge your child and nature.
The gym connection
Health clubs are a great place to participate in fitness classes for you and your baby. Some gyms offer mother and baby yoga classes. You can take advantage of the documented health benefits of yoga, such as increased flexibility, strength, balance, muscle tone and decreased stress. Yoga is also good for your baby. Benefits include better and longer sleep, better digestion and gas elimination, neuromuscular development, and an early start to building a foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
If you are comfortable putting your child in the health club daycare, get involved in the myriad of other fitness classes. From spinning to aqua classes, you can do a different class every day. The exercise will do your body good and having some time for yourself will do your mind good, too.
Be sure to check out the credentials of the class instructors, particularly for the mother and baby classes, to make sure they are qualified and knowledgeable about postpartum exercise and infant exercise considerations.
Get a buddy
If you love getting fit with your kids, you might also enjoy working out with a fitness buddy, especially if she has a kiddo, too. Check out local blogs or organizations to meet with other women for an early morning or afternoon walk or jog. Mommy groups such as Moms Meetup and Luna Moms Club are established throughout the country and give you a chance to network with other moms and exercise.The benefits of exercising with a group include motivation (especially on those days you simply can’t find a reason to exercise), creating a social network of friends with similar interests, and accountability to help you stay focused on meeting your fitness goals.
Being a mom, regardless of the age of your children, actually opens the door to a whole new world of fitness opportunities for you and your family!