Diet and exercise have always been an integral part of my life. Not only do I value living a healthy lifestyle, I also enjoy the residual effects of said lifestyle. When I exercise, I feel good; and when I feel good, I am a more positive person. Ultimately, when I commit to eating right and exercising, my mood, choices, and energy are all positively affected. As a parent there can be many challenges that come with trying to integrate fitness into your everyday regimen. The important thing to remember, though, is that it can be done.
When I was able to, around 6-weeks postpartum, I began exercising with a daily walk around the park. My baby would fall asleep in her stroller, and I would bask in the fresh air. After a while, I began jogging a mile or two around the park’s track. (Jogging stroller’s are definitely worth the investment if you are trying to stay active outdoors.) As the weather got colder, I moved my workout to my complex’s fitness center. The white noise of the treadmill would put my baby to sleep in her carseat, and I would enjoy a relaxing run. This luxury only lasted for about two months, though, which is when my baby started crawling. After this milestone she was no longer content with snoozing in her carseat. She wanted to be running right along side me. That’s when I had to get creative. I begrudgingly dug out the workout DVD’s (Leandro Carvalho’s Brazil Butt Lift) that I had purchased before my wedding, and I’ve been relying on these DVD’s for six months now.
Working out with a little one is still no cakewalk (even from the convenience of your own home), but here are some great tips that I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Work out during your baby’s nap time. This is the optimal solution. It is the most stress-free and effective way to work out. (Just be prepared for your baby to wake up at any point during your workout.)
2. Work out while your baby is playing in a Pack-n-Play or playpen. (Just be prepared for baby to get bored after 15-20 minutes.)
3. Work out while baby is playing in a jumper/Jumperoo. (This method works best before baby can crawl.)
4. Work out while your baby is eating finger foods in his/her highchair. (The highchair is my baby’s new favorite toy! I roll it into the living room and exercise while she is munching and watching.)
5. Work out while your baby is crawling on, around, and over you. (This can actually add resistance when doing exercises such as leg lifts.)
6. Work out with your baby in your arms. (Again, this can add resistance when doing safe and stationary excercises such as squats.)
7. Work out while using a combination of the tips mentioned above.
I know that incorporating exercise into your busy day isn’t easily done, and there are plenty of excuses waiting for you in the grab bag. But if you are determined to integrate fitness into your life, like anything else, it is possible.