How to keep fit as a new mum
Most mums want to try and get back into shape after having a baby. However it is important not to push yourself into vigorous exercise classes or going to a struct diet.
Finding the right balance between work, life and fitness to stay fit is challenging once you have children. We’ve rounded up some easy tips for you to try each week to help you stay fit as a new parent.
It may be tricky to find time to spend time exercising as a new mum, but your own health is important. You need to ensure you have enough rest in the first few weeks after giving birth and not rush into an active lifestyle.
It’s easy to let your health and fitness fall down your To Do list. But when you have a young family it’s the perfect time to set an example about exercise and healthy eating.
When can I start exercising after birth?
It is always worth getting some advice from your doctor or health visitor about getting into shape after giving birth.
If you had a natural birth without any complications you should be able to start some gentle exercise as soon as you are ready. This could be some simple stretches to try at home during the week, a yoga class or swimming. Going for a walk is probably one of the best ways to lose some baby weight and your new baby will benefit from the fresh air.
Always ensure you drink plenty to keep your energy levels up, this is especially important if you are breastfeeding or extracting breast milk.
It’s normally recommended that you wait for your 6 week postnatal check-up and seek advice from your health visitor before starting any active exercise.
If you had a more complicated delivery or a ceasarean, your recovery time will be longer but your health visitor can give you some exercise and diet tips for first time mums,
Finding time to keep fit
Many new mums struggle to find time to workout during the week. Don’t push yourself by trying to do too much, it’s important you feel comfortable with any fitness regime you’re looking at starting.
One good tip is to simply wear workout clothes at home – leggings and a top aren’t only comfortable but mean you will instantly feel like you could do some exercises. The fitness gear can put you into the right mindset for trying some stretches at home – even a few minutes of yoga or a gentle walk in the morning.
Finding time to exercise
Finding a balance between work, life and fitness can be difficult if you have children. Our advice is to take it steady, eat a healthy diet and don’t push yourself as a new parent.
You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive workout clothes at home There are lots of low-impact post-natal classes online that you do at whatever hour suits. you.
If you have younger kids get them to join in. This may help if you struggle with motivating yourself and is a fabulous way to all bond as a family. Perhaps try a fun fitness session after school and include some sit ups with the whole family to help lose weight.
Have fun as you workout
If you have a children’s trampoline or hula-hoops try working out on them together.
Use what you have in the house to help you exercise – there are lunges and arm dips that you can do on a dining chair and step-ups using your stairs.
When your baby is sleeping and your older kids are at school, you can spend time doing some lunges at home or some triceps dips. Be gentle with yourself as you may not be as fit as you were pre pregnancy. Many women try to overdo it in the early days.
Do shorter workouts
If you really struggle to find time for a full workout, try splitting your routine into smaller workout breaks.
Some top tips for exercising after pregnancy include:
Exercise with your baby for ten minutes – your baby will love to see your face as you do some sit ups or walking on the spot in front of them.
Look out for post natal classes in your area.
Improve your fitness by jogging on the spot or dancing to some favourite songs.
Hold some tinned beans and work out your arms whilst the kettle is boiling.
Schedule fitness as part of your day, perhaps early in the morning. You don’t have to be working out in the gym or doing a fitness class every day to get your body fit.
Do some stretches during your lunch break.
Look at opportunities throughout your day where you can exercise
Walk to the shops or an extra walk off the bus all help. Can you do some stretching exercises whilst your toddler is eating lunch?
Meet up with other new parents and their kids to go for a walk as part of your workout..
Consider purchasing a special jogging stroller where you can get fit on the go.
Look out for a ‘new mum and baby fitness class’ which may be helped in a nearby park. These classes often involve babies who can rest in their pushchair whilst you walk/lunge with your pram. The fresh air will help your baby sleep and you will meet other women and stay fit together.
Stop smoking for you and your baby
One of the best things you can do for a healthy life is to not smoke. If you are smoking it is really recommended to try to stop. This will be better for your overall health and your kids.
Research has shown that children who have parents who smoke are three times more likely to become smokers themselves. There is plenty of help from the NHS on how to stop smoking.
Passive smoking can also lead to breathing and lung problems not just for yourself but your kids too.
Healthy eating tips for new parents
You can help yourself to lose weight by eating healthily and setting a good example for the rest of your family.
A healthy diet will help you feel good and increase your energy as a new parent and will boost your immune system.
Try to drink plenty of water and juices during the day. Try to eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day.
Prep fresh fruit in advance such as carrot sticks, celery, and cucumber and have houmous at hand.
Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables are quick to prepare, and they count towards your 5 A Day.
Whiz up some smoothies as part of your breakfast to help your vitamin intake.
Steaming vegetables and fish is a healthy and quick way to cook.
If you have time you could spend a few hours batch cooking some meals so you have a few cooked ahead to help you on busy days.
Take care of your mental health
It is important that you take care of your mental health after having a baby.
Most new mums experience the baby blues but around a third of new mums experience post natal depression and it is important to seek medical help for this.
Find someone you feel comfortable with to talk to. You can seek help at postnatal classes.
Post natal depression
Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It can affect any parent, regardless of whether they’ve suffered from a mental health condition before.
Gentle exercise can diet can help your mood but you may find you need some medication to help and this is nothing to be ashamed of.
Symptoms of post natal depression
Sudden mood changes.
Feeling disconnected with your new baby.
Lack of pleasure in doing things.
Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
Difficulty in remembering things.
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt and hopelessness
Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide
Feeling disconnected with the baby
How to help your mental health
Doing some gentle exercise can help to boost your mood. Other things that may help are:
- making time for yourself – sleep when your baby sleeps.
- not trying to “do it all” – leave the ironing and housework for now.
- accepting help with caring for your baby from friends, family or your partner – they want to help you and your child.
- seeing friends or going to postnatal groups – your midwife or health visitor can tell you what’s available in your area so you can speak to other women.
- talking to people about your feelings.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
Exercising after having a baby
Be gentle with your post pregnancy body. If you are feeling tired or down, you might find some gentle exercise or time in the gym that might help you.
A daily walk may help your energy levels and reduce baby blues.
But if you start to feel worse then try some meditation or relaxation instead.
How do I know if I am overdoing the exercise?
There is lots of parenting information available about post-natal exercise and looking after yourself.
Listen to your body and if you feel are doing too much then stop and seek advice. Your health is important to your and your family.
If you feel that you are getting very tired or your postnatal bleeding changes in colour or gets heavier and then do speak to a health visitor.