For most mothers, returning to a normal routine of exercise and shedding the added weight put on during pregnancy can seem like a challenge, consider you have a new baby, who demands your attention most of the time. The most important thing to avoid doing is putting exercise off by making excuses you will start back up when the baby is older. This never works and before you know it years have flown by and you are still trying to get “back into shape.”
The best place to start is by taking small “baby” steps. Attempting to set unrealistic goals too fast will only result in burn out and failures. For instance, you do not want to try to hold yourself to working out every day for an hour when it just will not feasibly fit into your schedule. Doing this, will only cause you to find fault with yourself and further deter you from getting back into a “normal” routine.
Rather, set realistic goals you can keep. Committing to a 30 minute walk every other day is a great place to start. While your baby enjoys some fresh air from the comfort of their stroller, you not only get the added benefit of pushing them, but also a good amount of physical activity. Once you are comfortable with your daily walks, you can even take it up a notch and start jogging and upgrade your stroller to a jogging-type style!
For those dreary rainy and cold days when you cannot get outside, look for things you can do indoors. For instance, if you live in a high-rise condo or apartment, or in a home with stairs, walking up and down the stairs is a wonderful form of exercise. Plus, you can keep your hands free with a chest style or backpack style baby carrier.
As you baby gets older, you could explore gym and fitness centre options, as there are some that offer childcare services while you Zumba or get in your preferred workout routine. The key thing to remember is not allow yourself to get discouraged when you have to skip a day because you or your baby is sick or you simply do not have the time. Instead, just fit in exercising at least two to three times a week for 30 minutes and expand from there as time allows.
Aside from exercising, new mothers will want to monitor their diets. Sure, you had all those cravings when you were pregnant and allowed yourself to eat just about anything you wanted. Now that the baby is here, you will want to slowly start to return to normal eating habits that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce the amount of sweets.
Just like with exercise, set realistic and attainable diet goals and work at them slowly. Taking a slow and steady approach with exercise and diet will help you achieve your goals and reduce the likelihood of burnout and giving up.