Do it for yourself
It’s hard enough to tackle being a new mom without even thinking about working out but since a regular sweat session can help new parents manage stress, increase energy and soothe body aches, it’s worth trying to fit in some time to move and get some postpartum exercise. “Motherhood is physically hard!” says Kathleen Donahoe, co-owner and COO of Oh Baby! Fitness in Seattle, Washington. “Babies require so much bending over and leaning over and contortions and I think that only increases as they grow older!” She adds that dads can benefit from staying active too. “My husband, an Ironman triathlete, actually threw out his back while changing my son’s diaper on the day he was born! Parenting is more physical than people realize!” In addition, Donahoe says the mental benefits are just as important since she feels like a more patient mom after a good workout. Rebekah Spouse, who is also a mother, fitness instructor and the owner of FIT4MOM in Renton, Washington echos Donahoe’s motivations. “My number-one reason to exercise is always my girls. I want to set a healthy example for them and I also want to have the energy and strength to chase after them all day,” says Spouse. “I also know that on days when I miss my workout I tend to be grumpy or impatient, so I’m a better mom when I get my mood-boosting exercise in.”
Keep a tally
As a new parent, it is entirely possible to stay active but that activity might not all happen in a 30 or 60 minute chunk of time you’ve set aside. “It’s total activity over the day that matters, not that it all happens at one time,” says Donahoe. “One of my favorite tricks is to set a number goal for a specific exercises, like 100 squats or 100 walking lunges in a day. I keep a little Post-It note to keep my tally for the day.” If you lose track, don’t sweat it. The important thing is you try.