Being pregnant and giving birth will change your body, and being a mum will change your life: there’s no getting away from that!
But there are lots of ways to keep fit and healthy when you’ve just had a baby — here we’ve rounded up 11 of the best to help you stay fit and healthy on a tight schedule.
1. Cut down your bus journey and walk the rest
Getting off the bus one stop early or walking to the stop after the one you’d normally get can give you lots of exercise each week with no gym membership or extra effort required!
For example, if you normally take the bus twice a day, five days a week, you could get an extra hour and 40 minutes’ exercise every week.
2. Take time for yourself when you can
Our Young Parent Ambassador Ellie says: “It’s important to have some you time. From time to time I get someone to watch my baby while I have a hot bath all to myself, where I can actually wash my hair without someone trying to get at the shampoo bottle!”
3. Squat when you pick things up from the floor
Keeping fit doesn’t have to mean changing your routine — just changing how you move around can really start building up your muscles.
When you’re tidying up that mess of toys or even picking up your little one, try “squatting” by keeping your back straight and bending your knees so that your bum goes towards the floor.
When coming back up, lift with your legs rather than your back — as well as working your thigh muscles, this also helps to prevent pulling a muscle in your back — ouch!
4. Take on a Buggy Bootcamp
Buggy Bootcamps take place all over the UK and are a great way to exercise alongside your baby.
They promise their classes are cheaper than a gym membership and there’s no need to get someone to look after your little one while you exercise, since you take them along with you!
Find out more at the Buggy Bootcamp website.
5. Make use of 24-hour gyms
If a normal gym doesn’t fit in with your routine, a 24-hour gym might be for you. AnyTime Fitness and Pure Gym both offer 24-hour gyms, which allow you to keep fit when it suits you.
But remember, exercising late at night can disturb your sleep pattern — it’s important to stay rested!
6. Use postnatal yoga videos
If you can’t get out to the gym, then there are loads of postnatal yoga videos on the internet that can help you relax and build strength back in your muscles.
It’s also easier to fit these around your baby’s sleeping routine, and yoga should help you sleep better, too!
But don’t take our word for it: mum-of-one and Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill used yoga to help keep fit while she was pregnant. She told Women’s Health Magazine back in 2014: “I’m doing pregnancy yoga now and I love it. It’s good for muscle tone, flexibility and really good for relaxation obviously.”
7. Take a friend swimming
To make sure you get some benefit as well, team up with a fellow mum who can look after your baby while you swim a few lengths.
8. Jog up the stairs
This isn’t always possible when you’re carrying a buggy and your baby, but even if you only do it while you’re at work, you’ll notice the benefit if you’re just running up the stairs rather than taking the lift or escalators.
Building small changes into your routine can make a big difference to your health, and you’ll soon be running up the stairs like an pro!
9. Get involved in Park Run (with your buggy!)
Every Saturday at 9am, people all around the world go on a 5km run around their local park as part of Park Run. And there are tons in the UK, so there’s bound to be one near you.
It’s a great way to get to know the people and places in your local area, it’s free, and buggies are allowed (see this page for details) so no need to arrange a babysitter!
To get involved, register on the Park Run website. Their volunteers will even time your run for you so that you can track your progress.
10. Keep moving!
Whether it’s pushing the buggy a bit faster, taking the kids to the park one extra time a week, or running around with them when you’d normally just watch, moving around more can keep you fit and give you more energy.
11. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect
Celebrities might have the time and a entourage full of nannies to help them get back to their pre-pregnancy shape, but the rest of us have other priorities!
Young mum Ellie says: “In our culture, there is a lot of pressure put on new mums to be superwoman. We can be really hard on ourselves when in fact, we need to be congratulating ourselves for going through a life changing experience.”
Do what you can and try to build your workouts around your routine. Read Ellie’s tips on looking after yourself when you’ve just had a baby.
How do you stay fit as a young parent?
Share your advice in the comments below, or chat with other young mums and dads by joining our Community!