Becoming a mother for the first time can be an overwhelming experience; but just because you have a new life that is dependent on you doesn’t mean you need to give up on your health and fitness. Here are our top tips for new mums to help you get back into shape in a healthy way.
Find other mums with similar goals
New mums understand other new mums. By teaming up, you will not only get the social aspect of meeting with other grown ups, they will often have similar time schedules to yourself and hopefully similar goals as well. Start a walking group; if you’re a bit fitter start a jogging group. Park 30 minutes away from a cafe so you can all walk/jog there, have a trim latte and catch up, then walk/jog back.
If you all would like a bit more guidance and intensity, you can all chip in for a regular small group personal training session. Training with others will usually bring down the cost. Some pilates and yoga instructors may offer a similar service. Ask them if you can bring your baby along with you – it could save you on babysitting/creche services.
Get fit with your baby
Turn your exercise session into game time with your child. Young kids are the perfect size and weight to hold in front of you while doing squats, and then lift them up into the air! You’ll get a legs and arms workout in one. Do press ups or crunches next to them while they’re playing on the ground. Going for a walk with a well laden stroller up a hill is great resistance training, plus you’ll get the pushing action that is great for your chest and triceps. Or if you have a frontpack/backpack that holds your baby, you can do squats, lunges and brisk walks all while they are sitting comfortably.
Share with your partner
Both you and your partner need your own ‘me’ time; if you really struggle to find the time to exercise, ask them to spend time with the baby for 30 minutes while you have a workout and then return the favour for them. Both of you will feel better for having exercised and had a bit of time to yourselves (just don’t forget to spend time with each other as well!).
Added note on food and rest
Don’t forget to eat! Many new mums get so caught up in creating a routine for their baby, they forget to keep their own routine whenever they can. Eat a well balanced diet including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats or lentils/legumes, low GI carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up and healthy fats such as avocado and nuts. Eat small portions, regularly throughout the day. Try to eat unprocessed foods whenever you can and do some research to find some healthy ‘fast’ food snacks to have in your cupboards in times of emergency.
Also, listen to your body; rest when you need it and when you can, as this is the time your body will repair itself and recuperate from any activities you’ve been doing. Short power naps can do a world of good and can be taken at the same time as baby sleeps.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – marin