Who needs to go to the gym when your baby is giving you a workout every single day?
If your workout routine has got a little, erm, non-existent since having your baby, don’t panic. From picking them up a thousand times a day to lugging around all their ‘stuff’, you’re probably more active than you realise. Found yourself doing any of these unusual exercises?
1. Your baby is *just like* a kettle bell
Forget the expensive exercise bike that’s gathering dust in the corner, or all those classes you used to do, your little one is giving you the arm and leg workout of a lifetime. You’re constantly squatting to pick them up and put them down, rocking them to sleep, and holding them for feeds every few hours. And as your baby grows they’re helping you increase your weights without you even noticing – by the time they reach six months you’re already a seasoned baby weight lifter.
TIP: Your post-natal body may not have the core strength it once did, which can put an extra strain on your back. Always remember to bend your knees before picking your baby up, keep your back straight and pull in your tummy. You should avoid any high-impact exercise until after your six-week postnatal check, particularly if you’ve had a c-section.
2. Parenthood is the ultimate circuit course
Ok, so you may not be on the treadmill every week but we doubt many of those regular gym bunnies could complete a circuit course like this. You’re racing to put the washing in before they make more mess, you’re dodging the obstacle course of toys, then getting some squats in as you pick everything off the floor. And if you’ve got a toddler, you’ll also be running after them at top speed, especially when potty training kicks in…
TIP: Make sure you have a healthy snack nearby to keep your energy levels up as you race around.
3.You can army crawl out of any situation
When it’s taken hours to get them to settle, the last thing you want to do is joyfully bound out of the room and risk waking them up. And you certainly don’t want them to realise that you’re not there anymore. There’s simply no other option – stop, drop and army crawl your way out of the room like a stealthy caterpillar. It’s an (unusual) workout for your tummy but it’s a tried and tested move!
TIP: Once you’ve crawled out the room, stay on the floor and hold the plank position for a few seconds, do a few push ups, or just enjoy the lie down…
4. Change time is all about reflexes
It’s not just your stamina that’s being put to the test, it’s your skill and technique too. When change time comes around, you need your wits about you. You’ve got the nappies, wipes, and cream lined up, but there’s a wriggling baby ready to surprise you with who knows what. Before you know it, your hands are moving with the speed and precision of a table-tennis pro.
TIP: Make sure your change table is at the right height for you. When you’re changing nappies every few hours, bending at the wrong height and angle could lead to a sore back. Try a few variations until you get the height that’s most comfortable for you.
5. At least your cheeks are feeling toned
Whether you’re laughing every time they gurgle and giggle or crying hysterically when they reach a new milestone, your face has never displayed so many emotions. And let’s not forget those vocal chords – because singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star once is never enough. And when they’re older, just imagine how much of a workout it’ll be telling them to put their shoes on, over and over and over again.
TIP: Add in the actions to the nursery rhymes and you’ll be getting a full body workout too – think of how many times you lift your baby during the Grand Old Duke of York. By the time you’ve marched them up the hill and down again, you’ll be wishing you’d picked a different song!
6. You’re always carrying 101 baby ‘essentials’
You’ve got the change bag, clothes, nappies, wipes, food, toys, dummies, bottles… and let’s not forget the baby. Wherever you go, you’ve got every eventuality covered. And once you’ve managed to fit it all in, you’ve got to carry it and a baby? Your arms were not prepared for this. Hmm, maybe just the one jumbo pack of nappies will do today.
TIP: Try to alternate the side you carry your change bag and baby on. Holding a baby just for a short walk can start to take its toll on your preferred side so make sure you switch sides regularly and reduce the strain on one side of your body.
7. You find yourself walking everywhere
You’ve surprised yourself with your new favourite activity: walking! Whether you’re pushing your little one around the block to get them to sleep, going to meet ups with other mums and dads, or just enjoying the fresh air, you’re walking at every opportunity. And it’s much more fun than doing battle with your nemesis, The Car Seat.
TIP: Invest in a simple fitness tracker or pedometer and you’ll soon see how many steps you’re clocking up each day.
8. You’re faster than an Olympic athlete
By the time your baby starts crawling, you’ll really be getting into your stride. You’ve racked up the hours of circuit training and you’re ready for the sprint finish. You turn your back for one moment and your baby is shuffling across the room at lightning speed towards that open bottle of talcum powder. Suddenly you’re hurdling over toys and laundry, and sprinting to the finish line like your life – and the state of your carpet – depends on it.
TIP: Remember to take things at your own pace. You may feel like you’re on the move non-stop, so try to relax when you can and enjoy every moment of the first year – the laundry isn’t going anywhere!