I confess that every pregnancy, every baby, the juggle to get fit again has become more and more challenging. These days I am no where near as fit as I would like to be. There are different fitness options to suit different people, but also different fitness options will suit your babies/toddlers development. Here is a snapshot of some common fitness options you can explore post-baby:
Mums and bubs personal training:
These are group personal training sessions created specifically for mums of all fitness levels. You can attend with a baby or toddler effectively. You will often need to commit to a set number of sessions, which can be great for creating accountability.
Many of the groups are designed so your baby/small child can be nearby you in a stroller or a blanket or even be incorporated into the exercises. Many trainers are happy to hold a baby, retrieve a dummy or whatever is needed to help things flow smoothly. Once your baby is on the move these sessions can become challenging but every baby is different so you won’t know until you try.
There are also groups that have a nanny/child minding service attached. Naturally these sessions cost more but the advantage is you do not have to juggle your baby at the same time.
Mums and bubs yoga or pilates can be great for gently starting exercise after giving birth and terrific for getting your core strength back in shape. Generally babies are with you on a mat, in a stroller and sometimes integrated into the class. Generally this is only available until your baby becomes mobile. You do not need to have any previous experience to attend but usually need to commit to a series of sessions.
Gyms with crèche:
Many gyms now have crèche facilities on offer on certain days/times. Usually there is a small additional cost for using the crèche and booking is required. An advantage of this fitness option is the flexibility to go as often or as little as it suits you. However, you do miss out on the accountability of other options. Make sure you visit the crèche and find out what they do if your baby is distressed while you are using the gym and how they will try to contact you.
There are a number of aquatic centres that now have a crèche attached in the same manner as a gym. Like a gym, the crèche is often only available at certain times of the day but otherwise is a very flexible option.
Walking groups operate in several formats… everything from casual community-based groups to sessions that you pay to attend. This will suit all fitness levels. Also, most babies love to be out walking too!
In the home:
If the thought of having to get yourself and a baby out the door to exercise seems overwhelming, there are plenty of options that allow you to get fit at home.
A few ideas to get you started:
- DVDs that you can pop on when your baby is sleeping or perhaps your toddler might do with you
- Wii Fit – again a great option when the baby is sleeping
- Personal trainer – there are many trainers who will come to your home for a session, making it much easier to juggle a baby
- Purchase an exercise machine – rower, treadmill, bike etc. These are a financial investment, so make sure you have the motivation and commitment to make the most of it.
Getting back into exercise after having a baby can be a little challenging at first, but well worth the effort. It is a wonderful way to meet some new people, spend some time nurturing your own needs and, of course, start losing some of those post-baby kilos we all have.
Linda Anderson is the founder of Mums on the Go (www.mumsonthego.com.au) – a directory of child-friendly businesses that help Mums look after their own needs even when they have kids in tow. Linda is Mum to two gorgeous girls and has her third baby on the way in August 2012.