By Kristen Abercrombie
*Before you start an exercise program read 3 Things You Need to Know Before Exercising Postpartum
It’s July. Summer is in full swing. My body is nowhere near “bikini ready” – whatever that means. I am proudly rocking a very nice tank suit. I’m not sure that a bikini is in my future and I don’t really care…not enough to give up french fries anyway. It might sounds like a defeatist attitude, but in reality, I just know my priorities. I have stopped shooting daggers out of my eyes at new moms who are immediately back into their skinny jeans and I remember to honor my own amazing and strong postpartum
body. The purpose of my exercise regimen is not to achieve a certain look, it’s to be healthy and strong, both mentally and physically.
Although I have always been an active person, it took me awhile after having my daughter to find the balance between being a mother and wife, and finding the time to move my body in a way that made me feel strong and helped me manage my stress. Now that my schedule is dictated by this cute little tyrant, I can’t just dash off to the gym anytime I want. I have to get creative in order to incorporate more movement into my everyday life, especially when getting to the gym isn’t in the cards.
So now, almost two years out, I’m the mom doing lunges down the sidewalk while my toddler is strapped to my back, or using the playground equipment as my own personal gym while my child runs around like a maniac. I’ve gotten a few raised eyebrows from strangers, but hey, it’s working for me.
I know that many new moms experience the same difficulty in trying to incorporate more movement into their lives. Here are a few ways that I stay moving, even when I can’t make it to the gym.
I think outside the gym.
- When I still had a pre-crawler I looked for classes specifically designed for new moms and babies. I was a devotedmember of Anne Duch’s Mama/Baby Bootcamp. Other classes such as Barre Babies and Itty Bitty Yogis at The Mothers’ Space are also great opportunities for movement.
- I recruited my posse of mom friends. We alternate houses and mix up the workouts with each other.
- I found the local Hike-It-Baby group. These hikes are designed for moms and baby and offer hikes for all skill levels.
- When my daughter just wanted to be held, I did lunges and squats down the hall and danced to the Raffi station. So much for that expensive rocker I bought.
I walk more.
- My stroller lives on my front porch and has a diaper, wipes, and hand sanitizer stashed in the basket. It’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- My daughter has always been an early riser. I have gotten in the habit of having my walking clothes ready to go in the morning and loading her in the stroller still in her PJs and hitting the road for an early morning walk. You won’t believe how many morning commuters will stop and say hi to a baby in PJs!
- Again, I recruit my mom posse to join me. It’s a great opportunity to catch up on conversation while babies are napping in the stroller.
- Walking to the coffee shop or the drugstore are ways that I get errands done while squeezing in movement.
- Investing in a quality, ergonomic baby carrier has helped us take our walks to non stroller friendly terrain. Used, inexpensive carriers can often be bought though babywearing Facebook pages such as Babywearing on a Budget.
- I always struggled with filling the time between dinner and bedtime with fun activities (mostly because by that time of day I am just DONE), but getting the whole family out for a walk has helped us fill the time. It often turns into a social event, as other families have the same idea and is a great way to meet other families with young children in the neighborhood.
Mommy tummy time
- When Kat was young I would put her on her activity mat and work on my own moves while she was doing hers. I kept a resistance band and hand weights stashed under my couch for easy access. Now that she is bigger, I look for any opportunity when she is playing by herself to put on a YouTube workout.
I cut myself slack.
As we all know of motherhood, some days don’t always work out like expected, so if I have a day that I haven’t moved much I try not to feel too guilty over it. Tomorrow is a new day and NOT beating-myself-up is as important for my health as getting in those 10,000 steps.