6 Tips for Finding Time for Fitness after Your Baby’s Born
During pregnancy, your biggest stumbling blocks to regular workouts may have involved getting motivated to work out, finding the energy to exercise, and finding time to work out on long days that included visits to your healthcare provider. After the baby is born, however, your biggest challenges may be what in the world to do with your new baby during your workout and how to find time between all those feedings, changings, and your baby’s other needs — in addition to still being short on sleep and time.
Here are some suggestions that can help you continue the work you began during pregnancy, from carving out time for your workouts to finding a safe place for your little one while you get your body back to your pre-pregnancy shape:
Exercise during your baby’s nap time. When your child is very young, you can plan to exercise during one of his normal nap times, using a baby monitor or setting up a crib or playpen right near your workout equipment.
If you’re planning to leave your baby in his crib and to use his baby monitor to warn you if he awakes or needs you for other reasons, you may want to select a baby monitor that lights up when your baby cries. This way, you don’t have to worry about not hearing the monitor over your workout video or treadmill.
Opt for a quieter workout. If you’re using a loud machine, such as a treadmill, rowing machine, or indoor bicycle, he may not sleep very long amidst all that ruckus. Likewise, the music and instructions on an aerobics video may wake a sleeping baby. But quieter workouts do exist — from weightlifting to some elliptical trainers to yoga — and working out with your baby couldn’t be much simpler.
Take your baby along. If she’s properly dressed for the weather and not exposed to extreme temperatures, you may be able to take your baby with you on your workout. When she’s very young and still lightweight enough to carry, you can keep her in a hands-free, front-mounted baby sack (also called a baby pouch or baby sling) or in a hands-free, back-mounted baby backpack while you walk or hike. Just be sure that she isn’t getting jostled around, isn’t too hot or cold, and isn’t exposed to a draft.
When your baby can hold her head up and wear a helmet, you can bring her along in a bike trailer or an easy-to-maneuver running stroller.
Join a gym or pool that offers childcare. Make sure that you check the credentials of the sitter(s) the gym or pool has hired and that you understand the childcare’s policies.
Start a mothers’ exercise club. Do you know other newish mothers at work or in your neighborhood who want to work out? Consider starting a mothers’ exercise club in your area. Before starting your own club, check to see whether one exists in your area.
Get your partner involved. If your partner has been involved in your pregnancy fitness routine and enjoys it, chances are he wants to continue this routine after your baby is born. If you work out together in early morning, after work, or on weekends, you may want to take the baby with you, using the ideas described here. Another way to involve your partner is to alternate workout times.