After having a baby, you might be keen to start exercising.
Remember that pregnancy causes a huge amount of changes in your body so it’s important to take things gradually at first, even if you feel like you can manage. Your body contains large amounts of the hormone relaxin for several months after pregnancy (longer if you’re breastfeeding) which can make it easier to injure yourself if you’re not careful. Here are some great ways to get some gentle exercise without needing to leave your new baby with anyone.
For the first six weeks you should mostly be resting and bonding with your new baby, but you can start pelvic floor exercises at home during this time if your midwife says it’s OK. These can be done while holding your baby, walking around or even while sitting or lying down.
Walking with your baby in a pram or sling is a brilliant way to exercise and get yourself some fresh air at the same time. Start with short walks of up to ten minutes, only increasing when you feel stronger. After six to eight weeks you may feel able to walk longer distances. Be sure to take water with you and stay hydrated.
There are “buggycise” classes in parks all over the country, which are fitness classes with an instructor involving pushing your baby in a buggy. You can choose to walk or jog depending on your own fitness levels. Ask at your local Children’s Centre for details of your nearest class.
Taking your baby swimming, although it might not sound like it, is actually a great way to gently exercise you as well as your baby. Try walking slowly through the water holding your baby either alone or as part of a baby swim class.
Ask at your local Children’s Centre, or speak to your health visitor, about companies offering mum and baby yoga in your area. Mum and baby yoga is becoming increasingly popular as it helps you to gradually re-tone your body after giving birth and bond with your baby at the same time.
Simply playing with your baby, holding and lifting her up and down while you sing to her, is a good way to exercise and build muscle tone while also enjoying some bonding time with your little one. Traditional rhymes and songs such as “The Grand Old Duke Of York” are fun ways to lift your baby and interact with her.
As you can see there are plenty of ways you can gently exercise without needing to leave your baby with a babysitter or in a crèche. Many mums find that simply getting out and about to baby groups and socialising with other mums helps them feeling fitter.
Before starting any exercise regime after having a baby, you should always consult your doctor. A good time to do this is at your six week post natal check.