I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way, if I’m exercising with my baby, that I can get a good workout in. And yes, that’s true if you want to crank out sprints on the treadmill. But think outside your typical workout box and there actually are a few ways to spend time with your baby and burn calories at the same time:
1) Running/Walking I recommend that every new mom invest in a good jogging stroller (they cost about $200), register for one, or buy one at a second-hand store (they often have ones in good condition). This is the best way to get your workout in (if the weather’s nice). There have been countless early, very early, mornings that I’ve put my baby in the jogging stroller and headed out for a run (which burns about 400 calories in 45 minutes). Not only do we both get some fresh air, but my baby usually goes back to sleep while I do a loop or two around the park. If you get tired (or aren’t up for running yet), you can easily walk as these joggers are also made for strolling.
Also, if you want company—or need a little extra motivation—do a search in your area for mommy & me stroller classes. You’ll run, stretch, and strengthen with other moms and their babies in a local park.
2) Swimming When I’m with my son in the pool, I’m definitely not cranking out my laps! But I do like to hold him and bounce him up and down in the water as I water walk in the shallow part of the pool. (At 19 pounds, my hefty seven-month-old is a handy strength-training weight!) He loves it and my legs (and arms) definitely feel the burn after a good 20 minutes of this. I once read somewhere that water provides 12 times the resistance of air, so as you walk, you really are strengthening and building muscle!
I’m not a fan, though, of mommy & me swim classes for working out; they’re good for getting your baby acclimated to the water, but not at all good for getting you in shape.
3) Hiking I love hiking because it’s so easy: Just put your baby into a baby carrier on your front or back, and hit the trails. (This is particularly good if you have other kids, as you can do it all together.) You’ll burn about 400 calories an hour. Just make sure you wear good-fitting shoes (hiking sneakers are best, but you can wear regular sneakers if the terrain is relatively flat); you don’t want to trip over a rock with baby on your back!
There’s also yoga, but you’re definitely not breaking a sweat in these classes. It’s amazing bonding time with your baby, and you can learn some stretches to do together, while meeting new moms. But calorie-blasting it is not.
And lastly, remember if you invest in an elliptical or even a treadmill for your home, you can park your baby in a bouncy seat nearby while you get your daily workout in. This may be one of the best ways for moms to get fit—no babysitter necessary!
© Valerie Latona LLC 2012