Unless you are an actress, model or gym rat, physical fitness is rarely a priority in the first few months after having a baby. But exercise - even in small doses - releases feel-good bursts of energy called endorphins throughout your body. And those endorphins beat that third cup of caffeine hands down as a way to help a new mom keep her energy up.
I know, I know, who has time to go to the gym with a baby? Between feedings, burpings and diaperings, it can take an hour just to suit them up and get them out the door.
The important thing to realize is that when it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. Every fifteen minutes you spend exercising is fifteen minutes closer to getting your old body back. And who knows, you might just get addicted to the endorphins!
Here are a few easy ways to burn a few extra calories -- some even with baby in tow:
We often take it for granted, but walking DOES count as exercise, especially while lugging a ten-pound infant around. Invest in a back-friendly baby sling or carrier, tie up your sneaks and hit the road. Or just load up baby in the stroller and push it across town. Give yourself a destination, like the coffee shop a mile away, or a bookstore in the next neighborhood. You'll gain some peace of mind, get your heart rate up, and baby will probably enjoy a dose of fresh air.
DVDs & Videos
Exercise DVDs or videos are available in almost any bookstore or library, and make for a great way to work out indoors. A perfect option for the new mom who easily gets bored or is dealing with inclement weather, you can set up right in the comfort of your own living room (no commute!), and experiment with as many types of exercise as you want - change it up by trying Tae-Bo one day and yoga the next!
The Gym More and more gyms and health clubs are getting in on the postpartum exercise market. Check out your local options and see if you can find a Mommy & Me yoga class. Some facilities even offer childcare options at a decent hourly rate, so you can drop off your baby and spend an hour of "you" time in a class or on the machines to get back in shape.
Lots of cities offer Baby Boot Camp classes or group stroller outings where babies are integrated into the workout. Look around your neighborhood for postings and meet up with other moms to burn off the baby weight, while using baby as a weight!