Guest mama post: How I’ve found time for fitness as a new mum
New mum Emily Laslett shares how she's eased back into fitness
Before becoming a mummy I’d exercise three or four times a week. I did a mix of classes, the gym and swimming.
During my pregnancy I took exercise very easy (pilates, swimming, walking) and post-baby I was looking forward to being able to push myself again!
However, there was no way exercise could be the same once I’d given birth. Hour-long classes on the other side of town aren’t really realistic with a tiny baby who needs feeding every one or two hours. I was also acutely aware that my body and fitness were a loooooong way from where they had been pre-baby!
I’d put on three stone with my pregnancy. I’d created and carried a little person over nine months and gone through a very long, tough labour.
I knew it was important to be careful post baby. Launching into a high impact, intense routine before your core has recovered can lead to long term problems, while all the relaxin in a new mummy’s body (especially when you’re breastfeeding) makes you more prone to injury.
I was very lucky to see a personal trainer for the first three months once I decided it was time to get back into exercise.
For an hour a week my husband opened up Daddy Day Care while I saw a brilliant PT who came up with a post-natal exercise programme to strengthen and realign my core, without risk of injury. That hour was far more packed with high quality, targeted exercises than it would have been without the trainer there!
She gave me exercise homework to do in 15 or 20 minute chunks while my baby (very occasionally) slept so I could keep the momentum up in between our sessions. The time with her also allowed me to learn the specific exercises I should be doing to help my body recover from the pregnancy and birth.
Fitting fitness in as a mummy has been about being flexible. No more hour long classes or leisurely swims four times a week! Now it’s maybe one or two quality sessions at the weekend while my husband has the baby.
That doesn’t mean I can’t exercise during the week, it just means it’s changed and usually includes my little one.
She’s now 11 months old and has become my new workout weight. Luckily, she’s always loved being on the move and giggles at me while I work out with her in the mornings as and when I can!
She particularly loves v-sits, squats and lunges. Before she could crawl, she’d happily lie on her play-mat while I did press ups, planks and other floor exercises next to her.
Now I can usually squeeze in a few 10-15 minute routines at home here and there, but it has to be about quality over quantity. I go as hard as I can for those precious minutes!
I try to convince myself to ignore the mess in the house and use some of her nap time to quickly squeeze in a little workout.
I’ve also started running. (Something I’ve never been good at or even enjoyed prebaby.)
It works perfectly because I can either run with her in the buggy, or if my husband is home early, head straight out the door for half an hour while he does bath time and get back home in time to put her to bed.
As a new mummy, I do see exercise as a necessity. For me, it’s not really about getting back into shape. It’s so much more important than that.
The benefits for me are huge. It helps boost my energy levels after a run of sleepless nights, which is vital when my 11 month old is yet to sleep through a night! Exercise also helps keep post-natal depression at bay, which is probably one of its biggest advantages.
For me it’s about being strong enough to carry my baby around getting without aches and pains.
It’s about being fit enough when she starts walking to run after a small toddler all day without getting exhausted and still having some energy left to enjoy a little bit of an evening with my husband.
It’s so much more than getting back into shape.
Exercise is helping me enjoy my first year of mummy hood even more, and that’s priceless to me.