Congratulations on becoming a mum! You’ve waited nine months to meet your bundle of joy and after the marathon of labour, your first thought probably isn’t about getting fit.
Your world has likely been turned upside down, with naps in the day (if you’re lucky that includes you) and being awake during the night. Finding time for basic needs like eating, showers, and even loo breaks can be increasingly difficult or unpredictable as you get used to your new job, with a very demanding and unreasonable mini-boss.
Tiredness can increase cravings for unhealthy and convenient fast foods, which give the body a boost in salt and sugar, but usually result is an energy crash and negatively impact your mood, health, and weight in the long term.
As well as having an undesirable influence on your eating habits, lack of sleep can result in you feeling depressed and irritable. Getting out of the house (we know, it suddenly takes three times as long) and getting to a group exercise class can greatly improve your mood, keep you fit and help you create a support network of other like-minded local mums.
If you do get a minute of downtime you will likely be faced with celebrities on tv and social media that have wasted no time in sharing photos of their post-baby abs. This can put pressure on you to get back into fitness as quickly as possible, but the reality is no one snaps right back into their pre-baby body instantly (not even celebs) and you will need to take your time and go at a slower pace when you start to exercise for the first time post birth.
Your post-natal check, between six and eight weeks after birth, is a great time to talk to your GP about how you are healing mentally and physically and to seek advice on your readiness to start a fitness routine.
Yoga is a great way to ease back into fitness. As well as the benefits of the gentle yet effective stretching, getting some time to reconnect with your body and taking time to clear your mind will have an all-round positive effect on your health.
Finding it difficult to fit classes in? No need to worry, there are numerous mother and baby yoga classes that you can take your little one along to. These classes offer traditional yoga moves for mum and adapted moves for baby. As well as helping you with relaxation and being a great way to meet other mums, the gentle moves can help relieve some of the symptoms of indigestion, trapped wind, colic, and constipation in babies.
Sessions for crawling babies and toddlers are also widely available. So, you’ll have a mini yogi on your hands in no time!
Getting out in the fresh air can significantly benefit you and your baby. It can improve energy levels, aid digestion and strengthen your immune system as well as providing your daily dose of vitamin D.
Buggy fit provides classes in the great outdoors, come rain, shine or even snow! The classes repurpose your buggy, from just transportation for your tot and a good place to put your shopping, into fitness equipment.
Classes are varied and include cardio, stretching and toning exercises, all designed to help areas that need attention post pregnancy. The great part about the classes is you will meet other mums and your baby gets to come along for the ride. Post workout picnic in the park anyone?
Blink and you’ll no longer have a baby, but a little person! Once your darling is 18 months and walking, why not begin a dance class to get both you and your little mover active. Diddi Dance® is a great way to introduce your child to dance, fitness and music. They’ll have lots of fun trying to follow the dance moves (or freestyling) and parents are encouraged to join in.
Lucky enough to have some time to exercise sans baby?
Swimming/water based fitness
When trying to get back into exercise after birth you should start as gently as possible. Once you are fully healed, swimming is a fun way to get back into shape. When taken at a slow pace, this type of exercise won’t strain your body too much whilst you build up your fitness.
During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin to help soften the ligaments around the pelvis, readying you for labour. However, this hormone isn’t localised to just your pelvis and it can stay in your system up to five months after you give birth. As the water supports your weight, it’s low impact on your joints which is important for new mums in order to avoid injury. The resistance water provides helps build strength and muscle tone.
Trying an aqua based group class like Aqua Zumba or Aqua Aerobics can be a great way as a high energy session to keep you fit.
Chair-based fitness is a great way to increase endurance, flexibility, and coordination for someone returning to fitness or starting from scratch. The support of the chair also helps with lower back pain that can be experienced in the first few months of motherhood.
Sitting down has never been so healthy!
Missing your pre-baby nights out? Clubbercise could be just the ticket to making you feel you’re your former self. It’s hangover free, has floor filling tunes and best of all it keeps you fit. The classes are dark, so you won’t feel as self-conscious about any errant dance moves or slower movements and you get a glow stick to make sure your arms are keeping pace with your feet. What’s not to love?
If you are ready to restart your fitness jounrey, click here.