Finding motivation for exercise after baby

Getting back into an exercise routing after having a baby can be tough. Our fitness expert, Wendy MacLeod, shares her tips and advice.

Motivation for postnatal exercise

Once your baby is born and you are just about back on your feet again, you may start to think
about embarking on a new exercise regime. After the initial excitement of your little one’s arrival,
it can take a while to settle into a new routine and indeed the new social circles and lifestyle that
motherhood brings.

Being a new Mum can be a daunting experience, so to help yourself adjust to motherhood,
get out with baby and do some exercise – maybe meet some other new Mums too! Read
my tips on how to exercise with baby…

  1. Ready, steady, go!
  2. Exercise and mental wellbeing
  3. Exercise with baby at home
  4. Taking baby on a brisk and hilly nature walk!
  5. Mum and baby exercise classes

Ready, steady, go

Once you have had the all clear from your GP or health visitor then are you fine to get started.
The American College of obstetricians and gynaecologists advise waiting 6-12 weeks post-partum,
although this varies from woman to woman and can depend a lot on how active you were pre-
pregnancy. But once you are fully healed and feeling well, there is nothing to stop you embarking
upon your fitness regime once again.

Exercise and mental wellbeing

One of the best post natal exercise benefits is absolutely the mental wellbeing it evokes. Once you
have got your head round the fact that exercise is a good idea again, you will reap the benefits
mentally. This is scientifically proven and is mainly down to the endorphins released in the brain
which give us a feeling of happiness – a natural high. So not only can it boost energy levels (great
news for those sleepless nights!) but it can help the symptoms of post natal depression too.

Exercising with baby at home

Having a baby doesn’t need to be a barrier to exercise – you just need to become more inventive
with things! You can walk up and down stairs in your house or even dance with baby, whilst holding
them securely in your arms or a supportive sling. Abdominal and pelvic floor contractions can be
done whilst feeding baby. And if you really want to step things up, you can do some squats whilst
holding baby for extra weight or shoulder raises whilst securely holding baby under their arms. Try
box press ups or plank for great interaction and eye contact with baby.

The list of ways to involve baby is endless and he/she will soon warm to this new ‘game’ with
Mummy!

Taking baby on a brisk and hilly nature walk

If you prefer to get outside and educate baby at the same time then this option could definitely be
for you. This is a healthy and inexpensive way to kick start your fitness regime and teach baby about
nature too. Even if it’s raining, get your waterproofs on, pack a flask and snacks and get on out there!
Take a canal walk or go the hilly route in your Local Park or nature trail with baby in a sling or buggy.
Remember your posture whilst power walking with the pram, especially when going up hills and
inclines. Keep the hips forward and shoulders back with engaged abdominals.

Be sure to point out the leaves, trees, flowers and birds along the way to baby too whilst you enjoy
exercising!

Mum and Baby exercise classes

There is lots of Mum and baby fitness classes out there, from yoga to buggy fitness classes. The main
benefits are that you get to meet new Mums and regain your fitness without worrying about crèche
facilities and child care. There is a certain amount of camaraderie to be gained from exercising
alongside other new Mums and it’s always good to be able to share weaning tips over a few walking
lunges with the buggy! The other benefits with these types of classes are that you are making a
commitment to your post natal fitness and baby still benefits from the fresh air too.

For buggy classes in your area visit Buggyfit

Photography: Ed Yourdon @Flickr

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