Choose the fitness option that suits your lifestyle.
Getting back into shape after having a baby can be one of the most daunting tasks facing a mother. Fitting in exercise after a full day of working, cleaning, cooking, and chauffeuring can seem nearly impossible at times.
New mother Lori MacEachern wanted to get back into shape but struggled to find enough hours in the day. “After having my baby, I felt less than thrilled with my body,” says MacEachern. “For me, exercise was something that I did every day before my baby, but not afterward.”
Her sentiments are echoed by other mothers who want to get into shape but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. The secret to getting back your pre-baby body is to choose the method that best suits your lifestyle, and there are some terrific options for new mothers.
Exercise with baby
Mom and baby fitness classes have become increasingly popular in the past few years. “Moms can definitely get fit while working out with their baby,” says Danielle Honsberger, owner of Salsa Babies. “Classes where you bring your baby with you consist of a workout that allows you to add intensity without impact.”
Bringing your child with you is also fun! Classes are created to make the experience enjoyable for both mom and baby. They are designed to allow for bonding time – often encouraging mothers to wear their baby in a carrier for extra closeness and talk to their child during the workout. Finally, working out at a mom and baby class allows for some much needed social interaction with other mothers. “I have had many moms say that our class is what helps them survive their week!” says Honsberger.
Workout at home
Let’s face it. It’s not always possible to attend a class outside of your home in order to get back into shape. Working out at home is an excellent alternative for the busy mom.
Gathering a library of good fitness DVDs that you can rotate three times a week, and including some strength training with dumbbells, is a good way to ease your way back into fitness without the self-conscious feeling that can come from group fitness classes. New mom Elinore Baggaley found at-home fitness DVDs were the perfect tool for her. “When the baby napped, I cleared my living room, grabbed my sneakers, and worked out. Usually it was only for half an hour but it was enough to help nudge me back into a good fitness routine,” she says.
Create your own group
“My new-mom walking group saved my sanity,” exclaims Gloria Lee. “I needed to get outside and move but I also needed to meet other moms who had the same weight-loss goals.” Lee, along with a few moms she met at a local drop-in centre, formed a stroller-walking group. The creation of this weekly walking program was instrumental in helping Lee regain her pre-pregnancy body. Turning the daily power walk into a social event made getting fit fun for all new moms involved.
Yoga (for mom & baby)
Lori MacEachern needed something familiar to help her regain her physical strength post-partum. Yoga, something she had enjoyed before and during her pregnancy, helped her reach her goals. “Doing yoga with my baby – both in a class and at home using a DVD – provided me with the gentle yet challenging push I needed to get back into shape,” she says. In fact, with the growing number of prenatal and post natal yoga classes being offered in most cities, yoga is a great option for moms of all fitness levels. The chance to workout with or without your child in a calming environment may be the perfect kick-start to a healthy body.
Regardless of your goals, commitment is the key to success. You need to create a solid plan that includes what your workouts will be, where your workouts will be, and how you will make changes to your eating habits in order to complement this plan. With perseverance and dedication, it is possible to get back into shape after having a baby.