A Busy Mum’s Guide To Exercising With Children Of All Ages
Between breastfeeding, chronic sleep deprivation, meal planning, cooking, school pick up and sport runs, a mum’s life is a busy one and squeezing in a sweat sesh can be near impossible. But once you’re committed and you have a plan in place, finding time to make exercise an important part of your daily routine is a no brainer.
From birth: Pram/baby carrier fitness
Granted you’ve just pushed through another all-nighter, there’s still plenty you can do to get moving, without feeling too overly exerted. If you’ve been out of the fitness game for a while, don’t expect to pick up where you left off. Start small and slowly build back up your strength and fitness. Low impact workouts, such as pram walks or wearing a baby carrier is a great way to re-introduce a regular walking routine while minimising the pressure on your lower body joints.
Treat your exercise time as an appointment in your diary, such as a baby weigh-in or doctor’s check-up and allocate 30-minutes on most days accordingly. While at times you may not feel like it, moving regularly will help to relieve stress, boost energy and prevent post-baby blues. Be sure to get the all clear from your doctor at your 6-week post-baby check-up before you amp up the intensity. Remember, consistency is key. Building an exercise habit that works for you is crucial to getting the outcomes that you want from your exercise routine especially after giving birth.
Infants years: Active playtime
Now that your baby is on-the-move and getting into every nook and cranny in the house, is a great time to include your infant as part of your fitness (especially once you establish the “eat, play, sleep” routine). Think of it as active playtime. Simple movements like a baby overhead press or holding your baby while doing squats or walking lunges is a great way to build up strength and also provides great bonding time with bub. The options for bodyweight exercises are endless and you can increase the intensity easily by using household items.
For those who are in need of some time away from the house (and bub) may find a gym with a crèche to prevent boredom and add some variety to your fitness repertoire, provided you can regularly slot this into your hectic schedule.
Related: 5 best exercises for new mums
Preschool Years: Playground circuit
Ever considered a playground workout circuit? There’s no better place than a park or playground to get your body moving. Monkey bars, swings, and a park bench can easily become all you need for an effective total body workout. As the pre-school years are a prime time for building upon fundamental skills, such as running and climbing means opportunities for incidental exercise as your child plays, whilst demonstrating fun and positive habits to stay strong and active.
School Years: Buddy Up
Besides all the homework, you’re now juggling the extra-curricular activities that fill up your entire afternoon. But rather than sit and watch (or scroll through your social feed), get active and get involved by being a volunteer coach, or train while your child trains by swimming laps or walk laps around the oval. The idea is to find new options for exercise that can fill that afternoon slot more productively.
The Takeaway: Being a busy mum is no excuse when it comes to achieving and maintaining fitness. The more you can role model an active lifestyle and provide opportunities to be active together, the better your child’s own relationship with physical activity will be. The key is to plan ahead, give yourself grace if your schedule doesn’t go to plan, be flexible, and remember that it is a marathon - not a sprint!