There are many pressures on new mothers - fathers too, but I'm just focussing on the ladies for this article.
This pressure can come from the media or friends and colleagues who seemingly make everything look so easy. Some mums may also apply pressure to themselves, at times trying to play the role of superwomen, attempting to be everything to everyone.
So what are some strategies in a world where parenthood and exercise may both be competing for your time and where parenthood will of course win out?
1. Look for opportunities where you can build movement or exercise into your daily routine with your child.
- Guidelines can differ, however most recommend a blend of structured physical activity and unstructured physical activity every day.
- Think of structured exercise such as playing a game or sport that has a set of rules or guidelines and unstructured exercise simply play time, where your child can freely explore their environment.
- Can you play a part in either of these times or both? Not only will this ensure your child gets exercise in for the day, it also is a role model for great behaviour.
- “Easier said than done,” I am sure you are thinking. Well, if you do manage to make that a part of your day-to-day, look to capture your child’s full attention if possible. This ensures play time is quality time, regardless of whether it is structured or unstructured. Helping them build an ability to fully engage in an activity which is a habit that will serve them as they grow.
2. It may sound almost too simple, but look for ways to spend more time outdoors.
- In an indoor environment you have a closed space that restricts movement.
- This is important if you’re trying to be productive while home, but outdoor spaces can provide hours of movement for both you and your child.
- I know this may sound exhausting, and there is no doubt it can be, over time, your body will progressively start to handle the increase in activity. Our body is an amazing machine that is built to adapt to anything we throw at it.
3. Should you get an opportunity to train on your own without your child, look for ways to be efficient in your training.
- 4 x 400m runs take a lot less time than a 5km run, and for some people, will provide equal or better results.
- With your additional time, look to hit the major muscle groups with large compound (more than one joint moving) strength training exercises. Think squats, deadlifts, lunges, and pushing and pulling movements. This will guarantee maximum muscle recruitment and therefore maximum energy expenditure.
The above does require you to think about what you are doing and also to have the motivation to actually do it. Including a friend, or a trainer if the budget allows it, may be an option.
Alternatively you may be looking for a simple structured approach to exercise, and group exercise classes may be perfect for this. Currently there is a surge in popularity in yoga or mind body programs and this may be exactly what you need to keep sanity while the whirlwind of being a parent consumes most of your time and thoughts. It may be exactly what you need to take some time for yourself