Exercise with a baby sounds like madness, right? Wrong!
One of the biggest barriers to success we find with women who try Body Beyond Birth at the trial stage and don’t progress is that time is a factor. We’ve spent our lives being told that you need to set aside time for exercise and sport. Yet there are an amazing amount of potential opportunities for exercise and fitness that new mothers aren’t aware of.
Here are some of the best ways to exercise with a baby without losing your mind
Think in small, attainable bites
Exercise isn’t separate from your day- it’s a part of it! By using incidental exercise when doing the household chores, you can start building exercise into your day.
Dressing for success by putting your exercise gear on at the beginning of the day helps you steal those short moments.
And start thinking of your day in terms of exercise opportunities. That way, exercise with a baby starts to become possible.
Not sure of what we mean? How about these ideas:
- Can you skip taking the car and instead, walk with the pram?
- Can you catch the train or the bus and walk to and from the station?
- Can you build this up by getting off a stop early and adding extra walking time to the mix?
- Is playing with the kids an opportunity to use exercise as part of that play?
- Could the school pickup become a walk home instead?
- Is putting the shopping away a great time to put on some music and add some kitchen dancing?
As cheesy as some of these suggestions might sound at first, they do give you the opportunity to exercise with a baby. Those moments add up!
So start looking for the opportunities for movement and incorporate them into your day.
Turn mothers group around
Meg spoke to us about changing the way you eat at mothers group, but what about the format as well? While it’s nice to sit down with a cup of tea and some nibbles, Mothers Group also has the potential to be there to support your goals.
For example, you could try the following activities:
- A dancing pyjama party. Everyone comes in their PJs, puts on some retro tunes and has a dance. It’s silly and therefore bound to get a laugh and some interest from the other women
- A group walk. Armed with prams, strollers and the bigger kids on trikes, it could be a great way to get together. You could even choose a cafe at a scenic location such as the beach and still get your tea time while also getting the exercise
- Exploring the bicycle trails. There are many great and safe places to cycle around the place. So why not pop bub in a bicycle seat and head to the local bicycle tracks? And you can still incorporate that cup of tea and sit down at the beginning, middle or end
- Aqua aerobics. Why not combine infant swimming lessons with the opportunity to get your shimmy on under the water, mermaid style? It’s fun, great fitness and helps your child learn the vital poolside skills in the process
- Have a plank off. If this series of the Australian Bachelor has taught us anything, it’s that women who plank get the red rose. Why not challenge your mothers group to a little healthy competition and earn that slice of cake with a plank-off?
The main aim is to have fun and use that time of friendship, understanding and relaxation to get some much needed sunshine, laughs and exercise.
Put a twist on family time
The family that exercises together has fun together! You’re looking to exercise with a baby, so why not encourage your partner and the rest of the family to take part?
You could repeat many of the mothers group ideas such as the bicycle ride, walk or aqua aerobics. You could also give the kids who are pestering you for a dog the chance to dog-share by walking someone else’s dog for a day, just to spice things up a little.
Nothing says a family dance party isn’t in order, either. Or perhaps you could play chases, hide n seek and pretend you’re competing in the Olympics together.
Use meal planning to aid your progress
One of the chores that really eats up a mother’s time is cooking. When we’ve had a sleep deprived, hard day with a lot of moving parts, the last thing we feel like is preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards. But there are smarter and healthier ways to take a load off than resorting to takeaway.
We’ve got some great recipes by Meg and Nadia that are short on the hassle, are quick and easy, and taste great. And the best thing is they’re designed to help, not hinder, your exercise and fitness progress.
You can also make use of great places such as MamaBake, where groups of women come together as mothers to share the cooking, domestic chore and mothering load. At MamaBake, you learn how to cook in big batches, share a conversation and some time with other mothers, before taking away meals for the entire week. This gives you back time each day and helps when your motivation might be low.
At Body Beyond Birth, we understand that food and calorie intake is part of the battle. That’s why we offer our own recipes and useful ideas to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle in and out of Pilates class!
You operate better when you’re happier
New babies and small children are hard work. They demand time, attention and a focus like nothing else on this planet. It might seem like you have to forgo time to yourself to exercise and eat well because every minute counts. But your baby needs you refreshed. Your baby needs you to be strong, healthy and operating on as many cylinders as you can. That’s why it’s vital you make time to exercise and attend to your nutritional needs.