Fitness

New Moms: Finding the Time to Exercise

Reaching your pre-pregnancy weight isn't easy, but it's attainable. Here's how to find the will to exercise and more importantly, the time.

Bottles and diapers and wipes, oh my! These are just a few of the things new Moms have to contend with when their baby is born. Add a lack of sleep and learning how to take care of an infant to the list, and it's easy to see why exercise might be the last thing on their mind.

When dealing with an exhausting daily routine it can be easy to skip over exercise plans and fall into bad eating habits. But making time for exercise and committing to regaining your pre-pregnancy shape can actually make it easier to deal with the stress of a newborn as you'll feel healthier, you'll have more energy and your self-confidence will grow. What new mother doesn't need more energy and confidence?

Hours in the day
Reaching your pre-pregnancy weight isn't easy, but it's attainable. Part one of the challenge is having the will and discipline to exercise; part two is finding the time. Between a new baby, cooking, cleaning and running errands, where does exercise fit in?

Planning ahead is crucial. First, give your body time to heal after the ordeal of giving birth, then plan your workout schedule. While that may seem overwhelming—sure, life with a newborn is chaotic—look at your days carefully. You'll notice a pattern from which you can set aside time to exercise. Having a schedule on paper reminds you to follow through with your workout because it's planned

Not yet convinced? Post it in a visible place, like the fridge, mark it on your calendar or include it in your planner. If you see it every day, your workout has a better chance of being something that you actually complete rather than something that you'll get to if the opportunity arises.

Join a class
A great way to find the time to exercise as a new mom is to join a mommy and baby fitness class. Whether yoga or aerobics, call your local gym or community centre, and ask about their fitness classes for moms with babies. Working out with other mothers and their children will provide the regular exercise you are looking for without having to be apart from your baby. This proves useful when you can't find a sitter. Exercising with your baby will not only strengthen the bond between the two of you, but it will also get you out of the house and socializing.

Buddy up
Get yourself an exercise buddy. Find a new mom that shares your fitness objectives. Together, create a workout schedule that works for both of you. It makes exercising easy and fun. Go for walks with the kids, whether using strollers or baby-carriers. How about watching each other's babies while the other takes the time to exercise?

After dinner with Dad
If exercising during the day is impossible, your best bet may be evenings when your spouse is home to watch the baby. After a long day it's probably one of the last things you want to do, but, if you want to get into shape sacrifices sometimes have to be made.

Be realistic

  • At the beginning, exercising every day may be too ambitious, so try to exercise once or twice a week. Eventually you can build up the frequency.
  • Use your baby's nap time for your workout. Many mothers tiptoe their way toward completing their chores while their babies are asleep. But it's okay to schedule those chores on your non-workout days.
  • If you use the time to prepare dinner here's a suggestion: Ask your spouse  to cook meals. Or, have a relative bring dinner over. If you're lucky enough to have a baby that naps for extended periods of time, like an hour or two, divide the time into part housework and part working out.
  • Working out at home while your child is sleeping is easy. If you have access to a treadmill, elliptical cross-trainer, stationary bike or any other type of fitness equipment, what are you waiting for? Use it. If you don't, get your hands on some workout DVDs.

Keeping fit as a new mom is not just about losing weight. It's just as important mentally as it is physically. Make it a priority. Define your exercise time as "your time." After all, as a new mom you deserve it.