I am physiotherapist and a mum of 2 little girls aged 2½ and 13 months. From personal experience I found it difficult to return to exercise after having a baby, and even more so after having my second! Over the last 2 and a half years I have found some really good ways to get moving and this has benefited me and my family as I am fitter, happier, stronger and I also feel like I am setting a good example for my girls.
I have put together a list of ways that I found beneficial for working out with small children. Remember that it is important to have an assessment with a women’s health Physiotherapist before returning to exercise, especially if you are experiencing pelvic floor symptoms. I also recommend ensuring that you have a well-fitting bra (especially if you are breastfeeding) and supportive shoes.
Group exercise class: Many Physiotherapists and other studios run exercise classes specifically for Mum’s and bub’s. The Fitwise P40 classes are a great example of this. They provide a supported group environment with other Mum’s and one of the best things is that you can bring your baby! Have a look around your local area and you will be surprised what you can find (Pilates, yoga, personal training and more).
Home workout: You will be surprised at the amount of exercise you can do effectively in your own home. A 1 litre water bottle and a small step or chair can give you endless options of exercises. You can do a 20 minute session while your baby sleeps or you can use your baby’s mat time to do your own workout with them watching. If you see your Physio or personal trainer they can write you out a program that is suitable for the stage you are at and the equipment you have available.
Pram workout: Take your bub in the pram for a walk in the sunshine (or in Melbourne possibly the rain!). Walk up and down some hills to get your heart rate up and you could even add in some squats and lunges while you are out. If you are a keen runner and your bub is at least 6 months of age with good head, neck and trunk control then you may want to consider a jogging pram. Make sure that the pram is well fitted to you and that you have built up a good running base before attempting any long runs.
Workout with friends or family: If you can find a friend or small group who are motivated to exercise with you, everything seems much easier. Get your friend or partner to hold bub while you run or do some push ups and take it in turns (Mother’s group can be a great way to meet like-minded people to exercise with).
Exercise at a different time: Unfortunately, fitting workouts into your old routine sometimes just doesn’t work once bub arrives. No more sleeping until 9am and going for a casual run on Saturday morning. Sometimes a bit of sacrifice is needed such as exercising before baby wakes or after they go to bed at night. As tough as it sounds, once you have moved your body, you will feel so much better! If you are planning a morning session get your clothes out the night before and have a banana or small snack ready to munch before you go. If you are going after bedtime, plan a session with a friend or family member or book into a gym class to motivate you before you get stuck relaxing on the couch.
Remember, exercise is an important part of your post-natal recovery. If you find an activity that works for you and is enjoyable, then go for it! You and your baby will benefit from you being stronger, fitter and more flexible. If you are interested in getting back on track with exercise, I’d love to help you. Myself and my fellow colleagues at Fitwise work with post-natal women daily, helping them to achieve their fitness goals. If you are unsure where to begin, we recommend starting with a post-natal or exercise assessment, it is during this consultation we gain a clear understanding of your history, discuss your goals and work on a plan together. We run in-practice clinical physio (pilates) classes as well as a group circuit class specifically designed for pregnant and post-natal women. All classes are run by a women’s health physiotherapist, so you are in safe hands.
Please note that information provided in this article is general advice only. For individual advice, we recommend a consultation. For more information or to book an appointment, you can…
- Contact our friendly reception team on 9822 4999 (Armadale) or 9486 0512 (East Melbourne)
- Book online. Select ‘make a booking’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen and follow the prompts
- Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org