By Rosemary Marchese
Editor, B.A. Applied Sci (Physiotherapist)
Make time to exercise
Getting fit as a new mum can be tricky, especially if you struggled to maintain a certain level of fitness during, or even before pregnancy. Either way, making time for exercise needs to be a priority as soon as your treating doctor gives you the okay to get started.
Becoming a mum is such an exciting time but it can also be incredibly stressful and daunting. Acceptance that your life is not just about you can be one of the hardest hurdles to overcome! On top of that, getting over the guilt of prioritising yourself for exercise time is also difficult, but essential. And I can’t stress this enough. How can you be the best mum you can be if you are not as healthy as possible. And by healthy, I include being fit. This doesn’t have to mean a marathon run, but just good cardiovascular fitness, a healthy level of muscle endurance and strength and good flexibility. If you focus on these things then your body composition will improve for the better too!
So, let’s look at how new mums can make time to exercise:
- Create a support network of people who can help mind the baby to allow you time to exercise. Don’t be afraid to leave the baby with your partner or parents so that you can go for that walk!
- Walk with the baby! That’s what prams were made for!
- Include the baby in some of your routine, for example you could have the baby on his play mat while you do abdominal exercises next to him.
- Break down the exercise sessions into 10-minute blocks. Try to get three of these sessions in per day. I used to use the first 10 minutes of the baby’s sleep time to exercise (in the early days). That way it didn’t matter how long the baby slept for because the exercise was done. It also meant that the exercise was done after a breastfeed, which made it more comfortable for me!
- Incorporate tummy or pelvic floor exercises while doing other tasks, such as washing the dishes!
- Use home DVDs to work out at home while the baby is sleeping.