Keeping Fit After Having Kids

Fitness for Mums & Babies in Dorset

Before my babies keeping fit meant such a lot to me. The gym was my sanctuary. I lived for that workout buzz and cared perhaps a little too much about my physique.

Then I had my first daughter and then my second daughter and things have changed...........dramatically!

Anyone who has children will tell you that it flips your world upside down. I thought I knew what tiredness was but I really had no idea. I adore my children and wouldn’t change my family life for the world but I do still crave exercise and feel a pang of envy when I see people out running or the endless fitness posts on social media.

Before children I regularly indulged in endorphin releasing personal training sessions, spin classes, lengthy trail runs and distance running events. Before children I had ‘spare time’! I find now any spare time I have is trying to discover the bottom of the washing basket, replenishing the fridge or dare I say..........sleeping!!

I do try to make time for exercise. I love keeping fit for physical health reasons but I think now the benefits it has on my mental health have really come to the fore. I have battled with post natal depression following the birth of my second daughter. Allowing time to workout in combination with treatment from my GP has seen me coping better with my symptoms and helps me feel energised in the day and sleep better at night.

I have had to accept that I can’t fulfill my fitness cravings in the same way I once did. There are plenty of ways to get a fix though.

Here are my top 5 ideas:

1. SQUAT........a lot!! After my baby weight began to drop off I found myself left with a bum that looked saggy and flat! There are loads of ways you can squeeze this fantastic compound exercise into your day. Squat whilst securely holding your baby, they often giggle and the additional weight challenges your quads and glutes. Squat whilst tidying up toys. Pick up each toy with a nice low squat. Squat whilst changing nappies! Just throw in 10-20 squats whenever you can. Every little counts.

2. Discover other exercises you can do with your baby......weighted bridge, kneeling squats, shoulder press.....I could write a pretty lengthy list here. Lots of big smiles and eye contact allows some sneaky exercise for yourself to become nice bonding time too.

3. WALK. Walking is an amazing source of exercise. A fast paced jaunt with baby in a carrier or in the pushchair is great to aid steady core and pelvic floor recovery whilst burning calories. I have developed a real love of walking, it’s great for mindfulness. If you feel like you’d like to run with a buggy perhaps look at buggies designed for exactly this. These buggies ensure correct posture to save your back and are nice and low with adequate suspension to allow a smooth ride for your little one.

4. Dance. Stick YouTube on and dance around your living room. Babies and toddlers love it and it makes you feel great and gets that heart rate up really effectively.

5. Seek out a Mum & Baby Fitness Class. At Activmama (Mum & Baby Fitness Classes in Dorset) I have designed workouts that are safe and suitable for all fitness levels. Each Mum will have a ‘tummy check’ to highlight if they have a Diastasis Recti (abdominal muscle separation). I then advise on what exercises are safe to aid recovery. We also focus on the pelvic floor. The classes are high energy and provide a really decent workout. I want mums to leave feeling great. This is achieved with a combination of laughter, friendly company, great music and that amazing endorphin release. Check out my website for reviews. I offer free taster sessions if you’d like to come along and give it a try. Get in touch to book.

I have found that as well as altering my fitness routine that I am now exercising for different reasons. My fitness and physique are still important to me but I am also demonstrating to my children that exercise should be part of every day life. My three year old regularly joins in and is aware that exercise is healthy. We also discuss healthy, balanced and sustainable eating habits so that this is normal for them too. I want to stay healthy for my children as well as myself.

Exercise after children is still achievable but maybe just a little different.