Being a parent can be demanding, so gentle exercise is a great idea to get you active and feeling happy – endorphins here we come! Here’s some inspiration.
It’s understandable that time-pressured families jump in the car or onto the bus instead of walking everywhere. As a parent, you may find that looking after your baby or young child tends to keep you housebound, too. But the effect of sunlight on our mood is well known, with researchers finding links between levels of sunlight and amounts of the “feel-good hormone” serotonin the body produces*. So it’s worth trying to have an hour outside every day.
Start with gentle exercise
If you haven’t done any exercise for a while, build up gradually. And bear in mind that new mums have to wait until after your six-week check before getting really active. Your joints will still be vulnerable to injury because of the effects of relaxin, the hormone that helps your body become a bit more stretchy in preparation for birth. The effects can last for five months, or longer if you’re breastfeeding.
On the plus side, you’ve just gone through the toughest workout of your life, you will have better circulation and heart and lung function, and your leg muscles will have strengthened to carry the extra weight of your baby. Now, exercise will speed your postnatal recovery and help increase your energy levels.
Find out more about when new mums can start exercising and ideas for what to do.
Walk your way to happiness
What’s the best way to enjoy that lovely, invigorating fresh air and get some exercise too? The easiest is to walk further and faster than usual. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reports that exercise can lift your mood, reduce anxiety and give you more energy as well as all the physical advantages – worth remembering if you’re finding it hard to get motivated. Just head for the park rather than the high street – that’ll be better for your bank balance too!
Why walking is so good for you
- Aids digestion
- Improves your blood pressure and heart rate
- Strengthens your immune system
- Makes you take proper deep breaths.
Change 4 Life has great ideas on getting walking – and lots of other activities too.
Many pools have parent and child swimming sessions – the water supports you making swimming the perfect low-impact weightless exercise, and your little one learns to be confident in the water. It may not be warm enough for a session in an outdoor pool yet, but there’s nothing like heading into a sunny afternoon after a refreshing splash about in a pool.