Fitness with a baby

How to keep fit when you have a baby

Congratulations, you’ve a new addition to the family, or perhaps the happy event is on the horizon. However, amidst all the excitement and activity, you’re wondering how you’ll be able to return to fitness, find the time to exercise and regain your shape post pregnancy. You're in the right place!

Certainly your life has changed – and changed forever. But that doesn’t mean you have to forget about fitness even though there are many challenges to getting fit after giving birth including:

How to keep fit and healthy when you have a baby


with a baby: A return to full fitness is possible

To prove that getting back into your pre-pregnancy dress size is achievable, there are many role models in athletics who have shown that not only is it possible to return to fitness post pregnancy, they have gone on to produce world-classperformances at the very pinnacle of their sports. Ingrid Kristensen, Sonia O’Sullivan and Paula Radcliffe have produced winning performances after giving birth and credited their improved stamina to the physiological benefits that occur as a result of being pregnant.

Fitness with a baby: Getting started

If you’ve recently given birth, obviously you’re going to be very busy with the extra demands on your time. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends no physical stress for two weeks after delivery and not to resume to fulldaily activities for a further four weeks. Additionally, if you have had a Caesareandelivery, you should avoid exercise for 8-10 weeks to allow for full healing. Your midwife will also be able to advise you on when you can begin working out. However, it islikely that you will know yourself when you feel ready to commence exercise, not onlyphysically but also when your new baby is settled into a manageable routine.

After giving birth, your joints will be loose because of the hormonerelaxin which has allowed everything to stretch to accommodate your baby. Avoid excessiveflexibility training for 16-20 weeks, high impact activities and lifting heavy weights.Build your fitness gradually for both your body’s safety and for sensible physiologicalprogression.

Fitness with a baby: Targets and benefits

Your primary targets for getting fit are likely to be:

  • Returning to your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Rebuilding your abdominal strength
  • Feeling good

Getting fitter provides numerous health benefits but specifically post pregnancy your fitness program will give you:

  • Improved posture
  • Increased strength
  • Increased stamina
  • Elevated metabolic rate
  • Weight-loss
  • More energy
  • Increased self-confidence
How to keep fit and healthy when you have a baby

Fitness with a baby: Fitting it all in

There’s no way around it, you’re busy and sometimes, finding any free time in the day isa challenge, let alone several times a week. That is where planning and organization comein. The most important step that you take on your road back to fitness is tellingeveryone of your plans. By involving them and getting them to understand how important itis to you, when you need support for some quality ‘you time’, they won’t be surprised. Ifyou explain to them why you are getting fit, the benefits and how exercise is a key partof your life, they can buy in to your plans and help, support and enjoy your path toimproved health and fitness.

Fitness with a baby: Exercise time strategies

Certainly you have to be organised to fit in a training session around sleep times, nappychanging and feeds but with some thought and planning, there are many differentopportunities for some quality training time, including:

  • Community playgroups
    A chance for a couple of hours away whilst your toddler plays.
  • Babysitting
    Make use of friends or get in volved in a babysitting circle with local parents.
  • Nursery care
    As well as letting you have some quality time, your baby or toddler will benefit fromsome social interaction with other children.
  • Parents
    A cornerstone of your support network and providing you don’t overdo it, usually very happy to be the doting grandparents.
  • Older siblings
    Assuming they’re old and responsible enough, another opportunity for some exercise time.
  • Partner
    Sharing the parenting duties is important for you both, so let your partner spend somebonding time with your baby whilst you work out.
  • Train with your baby
    A brisk walk in the fresh air is a great way to fit in some exercise with junior and if you feel more energetic, there are some excellent Babyjogger pushchairs available,specifically designed for your activity and your baby’s comfort.
  • Gym crèches
    Many of the big Health Club chains offer crèche facilities, so you can train without any concerns that your baby is very far away.

Having a baby is a life changing experience that is not to be missed, but your newbaby is part of your life just like looking after your own health and fitness. By starting out on a fitness programme, you will have more energy and vitality and will enjoy motherhood even more!

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