Do you struggle to exercise with your new baby? Finding the time is tough! Here are 10 inventive ways to exercise with your baby on board!
Why exercise with baby?
One of the biggest challenges for mums wanting to exercise is trying to find some ‘alone time’. We don’t all have the luxury of having grandparents or other carers available to help look after our babies and toddlers while we go out and get some ‘me time’. Even when your partner/family is very supportive and happy to give you some valuable ‘time out’, you don’t always want to spend that time exercising! Sometimes, we need to be creative and find ways to enjoy exercise with our little ones in tow. So how do we do it? What will work for you and your children will obviously depend on your child/s temperament and also their age… Here are some ideas for you to try!
Join (or create) a Mothers Exercise group
If you take a look at community websites, or even Facebook you may be surprised to find how many ‘mums and bubs’ group exercise classes exist. You may find ‘Mums & Bubs Yoga’ or group exercise classes that provide a baby sitter/s to mind your children whilst you train. Group exercise classes are often outdoors in a park, which is a nice alternative to having your child/children in an indoor creche. If you are unable to find such groups (of if this does not interest you) you can make arrangements with other mum friends who enjoy similar activities to you. Get other like-minded mums together and make a roster. Schedule a mum/group of mums to be responsible for looking after the children whilst the other mums train. You can alternate each session as to who takes care of the children. This gives your children time to play and interact with other children too, providing entertainment and ‘wearing them out’ (at least a little). BONUS!
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Get moving with ‘baby on board’
Use a baby carrier. Taking a long walk with baby is ample exercise for some of us. If you want to increase the challenge, find a hill or some stairs! The added weight will do the quads and glutes big favours! Make it really fun and just grab your iPod and dance around the house. No technique required, loads of fun and some Q time with bub! LOVE IT! Make sure you find a comfortable carrier and have the baby the right position. Otherwise you could end up with some nasty back pain. Usually the best position is to have bub at a height were you could kiss their forehead comfortably. This will only be suitable for women who’s pelvic floor has recovered…. so make sure it is before you get too excited dancing around!
Use a running pram
Depending on your passion and your budget, you may find a pram that is designed especially for running a big asset. If you plan to do a lot of running with kids in the pram, make sure you do your research! You will want to invest in something that will serve you well. (Again, only when your ready and have the Okay from your physiotherapist. This will be at least 3 months postpartum, but perhaps close to the 6 month mark.
Take the bike
Most bike seats require baby to be at least 1 year of age. Once your child is old enough you can take bub for a ride on a bicycle. If you are wanting a little more intensity, why not take a friend or partner with you. One of you can ride with bub whilst the other runs alongside of you. At the halfway mark, swap! This gives you some quality family time, whilst still being able to exercise at a high intensity.
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But my baby can’t swim! Put baby into an age appropriate floatation device. Provided it is safe you can use these devices as you would a ‘kick board’. Grab a pair of flippers and KICK! You will be surprised at the quality of workout you can achieve. Sing a few songs and play a few games along the way and your little one will enjoy some time with mum fully engaged.
Utilise Gyms and pools with creches
Many pools and gyms provide child care services at a relatively low cost. Not sure how you feel about it? Most gyms provide a free-trial period. Use this time to see if it is something that will suit you and your child/children. Shop around until you find one that suits. Remember to consider the group session time table too, if group sessions are something you think you might enjoy.
Have you ever noticed that parks are full of exercise opportunities for adults? Monkey bars are actually chin up bars…. Swings replace your therapy / yoga ball…and that spongy rubber surface is perfect for a few plyometric exercises! Toddler playgrounds provide shady, outdoor, child friendly spaces where you can take your yoga mat and complete a core workout without your little one jumping all over you. Let them play while you pump out some squats, lunges, push ups etc etc…
DVD home workouts
Stay at home and exercise while your baby sleeps or plays. There are so many DVD work outs that you can do in the comfort of your own home and they aren’t all ‘low intensity’! Think Pilates, yoga, Plyometric / cross training (such as ‘Insanity’). Do a web search and you may be surprised what you can find.
Create a Home Circuit
You don’t need any special equipment. Just some music and your imagination. Items such as chairs, skipping ropes, and yoga mats come in handy. Choose 6- 8 exercises that you find somewhat challenging. Think squats, walking lunges, triceps dips, single leg bridging, planking, push ups, step ups (to a chair), skipping…. Set up your stations (include a rest station if you like) and turn up the volume. Three rotations at 1-2 minutes each and you have yourself a fabulous workout!
Get on the Wind trainer
Having struggled to fit in 2-3 hour rides in the afternoon after my husband got home from work, I found my wind trainer a real asset. If bub was sleeping I could manage to do part of my ride session on the wind trainer. Once hubby got home I would head off to enjoy the rest of my session outdoors. Some women use ‘play pens’ for when little ones are awake any happily playing to make sure precious little fingers are kept safe from spokes! Some of these ideas do require you to have the necessary equipment available. Remember you don’t have to buy brand new! If you take the time, you can find secondhand products that are in mint condition. Friends and family will often happily gift you items that they no longer use. As a busy mum you can appreciate that even just a short time doing any of these exercises/workout will help to contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.
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