You remember how it started: you were young and fit and excited (or surprised) to see the positive result on your home pregnancy test. “I’m going to exercise the whole way through my pregnancy!” you probably told yourself.
But then reality set in. The first trimester brought discomfort and a few other symptoms, the second brought weight gain as your baby bump began to show, and the third left you completely overwhelmed and ready to get little junior out and into the world. Little did you know it would only get tougher when junior arrived!
If you managed to keep to your workout schedule on your own through your pregnancy, you’re the exception, and if you keep it up through your children’s toddler years, you deserve a medal! Squeezing in your workouts is tough when you’re a mom, but it isn’t impossible. Here are some creative ways to sustain your workout routine through the wonder years:
1. Visit the Swimming Pool
If you’re pregnant, one of the best ways to keep fit without endangering your baby is to visit the pool—either for a swim or a water aerobics class. The water, you’ll discover, can relieve your back as it unweights your belly, and water pressure can aid swollen feet.
2. Get a Babysitter
You’d think this is obvious, but a lot of moms are hesitant to get babysitting for something as insignificant as a workout. You don’t have to hire a teenager or pay minimum wage to get a workout babysitter. Trade workout times with another mom in your neighborhood—you run while she watches both sets of kids and vice versa. Also, a lot of gyms and recreation centers have affordable daycare services.
3. Start a Circuit Training Group
If you happen to have workout equipment in your home, you can invite other moms to bring their children (and their portable workout equipment) over to your home. Then do a circuit-training workout, where the group cycles through using each piece of workout equipment. Leave one station open so one participant can rest and make sure the kids don’t do too much damage.
Working out in a group also improves your likelihood of maintaining consistency. When you’re accountable to other moms, you’ll have a tougher time backing out of a regular workout.
4. Use Workout Videos
Workout videos can be a time-efficient way to squeeze in exercise without leaving your home. Jane Fonda may not be on par with Baby Einstein, but don’t be surprised to see your children join in when you turn on your favorite workout video. And don’t forget to wear your leg warmers!
5. Buy A Jogging Stroller or Bike Trailer
Sometimes a mom needs to get out of the house. Instead of taking the kids to the supermarket (as if that’ll relieve stress), get outside and go for a ride, a run or a walk around the local park. A bicycle trailer can open opportunities for family bike rides.
6. Trade Off With Your Spouse
Remind your husband that it’s not “babysitting” when the kids already belong to you. Arrange an evening or early morning workout time and then accommodate your spouse’s attempts to do the same.
7. Dive In!
The next time you go to a park, don’t just sit on the park bench and watch. Bring a soccer ball and have some fun with the kids. If your kids are old enough, don’t just sign them up for a soccer team; offer to be the conditioning coach and then do the workouts with them. Kids love having adults who are willing to get into the trenches with them. M.S.
43% of women gain more weight than is recommended during pregnancy. And 13% to 20% of new mothers weigh 11 pounds more than their pre-pregnancy weight one year after giving birth (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).