Exercise for mom and baby

April 1, 2010 9:58:25 AM PDT
I was pretty lucky during my pregnancy. I exercised right until the end. Given, the level of exercise waned as my stomach got bigger and my energy level got lower. But staying active helped me both physically and mentally with more than nine months of changes and stress on my body. It kept my weight-gain down and helped me recover quickly, shedding those pregnancy pounds without any sort of crazy diet.

When I was getting close to the end of my pregnancy, I wondered how I would fit in going to the gym while juggling a newborn, family life, work and of course the thing as parents we sometimes forget we need, SLEEP.

What I've learned is that my thirty minute or hour routine doesn't have to be time I spend away from Sienna. Since the weather has been cooperating, I often put Sienna in a baby jogger and take a run on a trail near my house. It's a great break for me and Sienna gets some fresh air while she looks at all the changing colors on the trees and all the other runners, strollers and bikers passing her by.

On days when the weather doesn't quite cooperate, I'll do some ab exercises the same time Sienna is doing tummy time, or do a yoga tape or run on the treadmill during her nap. I also love putting on some music and dancing with her. Believe me, keeping the beat while holding a thirteen and a half pound 3-month-old gives you a decent cardio work out and has potential to even chisel those arms.

Sienna is now at the age when she's becoming very interactive. She loves to move around. So I put aside time everyday when she has a "workout". I'll lay her on her back and bicycle her legs, twist her from side to side and stretch her arms over her head. This is also the age when they have enough head control to "stand". I'll pull her up by her arms to a standing position and she loves it! It gives her some freedom from the same lying position and definitely a different perspective.

I'm lucky if I make it to the gym more than once or twice a week. But I get in a good workout at least 5 times a week. I may not be as strong or toned as before Sienna arrived but I definitely feel healthy. My husband and I took Sienna for a run over the weekend and at the end he said, "Our goal now in life is to keep ourselves active enough so that we can be active with Sienna in another 10 or 15 years."

My point is it doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can still be active and fit and not necessarily be ready to compete in an Iron Man. But fitting in time to exercise, regardless of the level, benefits me, my family and OUR future.