If you are anything like me, fitness or exercise on a good day can be a challenge. Every day is just jam packed with kids, work, freelance work and housework. It can be hard to fit in time to take care of yourself, especially when you have a new baby.
By: Christy Laverty
Once kids come along all your priorities change, but it is more important than ever to take care of yourself. I can tell you it is always a challenge for me. I decided to take some tips and tricks from two fitness experts, and also toss in a few tips of my own.
1. Just Get Moving
Sometimes just taking a small step can be the biggest. It is important to get moving- sitting on the couch isn’t going to do anyone any good. It will get those good brain chemicals flowing, help boost your mood and help you feel better.
Sue Abel of www.TreadPowerfully.com says it is important for Moms to remember there is no rush to get back into shape after you have a baby. You need to find what fits and go easy on yourself. Abel says it is important to try out a few different things and classes before you commit to something. “Focus on how great you feel while you’re doing it and how it changes your perspective for the day.”, says Abel. Carrie Burrows of carrieburrows.com says every little bit counts. “If you can get five minutes three to five times a day then do that.”. Burrows says take the time while baby is playing on the floor, do some push ups. Also try to get out as much as possible with the baby in the stroller.
2. Get Outside
There is nothing better to shift your mood than getting outside. The fresh air will do your mind, body and spirit good. It will do your child good too, no matter how old they are. Bundle up your little one, load them into the stroller and get out for a walk, no matter the weather. Even in the winter snow you can still enjoy the fresh air. If it is too hard to push a stroller in the snow, then head to the mall. Many malls have mall walking groups that you can join. If that isn’t your speed, then just do a couple of laps of the mall on your own, there is no harm in sometimes doing a little window shopping with the little one.
3. Join a Group
Abel says there is just something to joining others. “Whether or not a new mom chooses to speak to anyone in a group fitness class on a chosen day or not, there is something about “sweat camaraderie” that can’t be replicated by jumping on a treadmill by yourself.” She says not only will others in your group lead you through your paces, a good group leader will also welcome you and look out for you each class.
Finally, group classes give you the ability to gradually increase your presence and confidence in the class. “Strap on your old sweats, grab whatever bra is clean and sturdy and strategically place yourself where you will feel motivated and great.” Abel’s classes often have a large number of stroller moms and she says it is the other moms who really help to rally the new moms. “When a mom shows up with their baby in a stroller the whole group rallies around them because each mother in the group remembers this time and yet, they also know that simply increasing the heart rate and performing deliberate and intense exercise is one of the best influences on losing extra weight and motivation to make healthy food choices.” adds Abel.
4. Eat (the right stuff that is!)
Carrie Burrows says it is really important to remember to eat. Seems simple right? But we Moms have a knack for feeding everyone else and forgetting to feed ourselves. Even though things get busy, you need to eat. “Skipping meals will not help with weight loss- it will only make it harder.” says Burrows. She suggests only having healthy choices in the house or fridge and that will make choosing what to eat so much easier. Also, don’t forget to drink water. Burrows says she can’t over stress the importance of eating REAL food, it will nourish your body properly and give you much-needed energy and stamina.
5. Find a Support Network
Burrows says it is important to gather a solid support system around you. Find a friend who will support you and help you when you need a sitter so you can get that fitness class in. Or find a friend that you can work out with. There is nothing better than someone who will encourage you. Burrows also says it is important to get your spouse on board with your fitness plan.
Tread Powerfully is a fitness organization operating in Burlington, Ontario since 2008.