Today’s guest post and very first guest post for my blog is the lovely Fiona from Mumafit. Her post is about health and well being as a new mum.
Having two children under two can be very challenging, as I experienced firsthand three years ago, and now welcoming my third little baby to my family I can appreciate just how hard that first year with two children was! Whilst the early days with two very young children were testing at times, it is great now to have two kids so close in age, as they are the best of buddies and couldn’t fathom life without each other. For me, part of my survival strategy as a new mum is to ensure that I always look after myself. I know some mums struggle with this as it can feel selfish to put yourself first and seem like you are prioritising yourself over your children. My take on this is that if I’m not ‘at my best’ then I can’t ‘give my best’, so I always ensure that I take care of my personal health and wellbeing goals so that I can always be there for my kids. As a consequence, I have plenty of energy (even though I’m not a young mum) and I rarely ever get sick, so am always available for my children.
Taking care of my health and wellbeing to me means eating well, exercising regularly, being physically strong and having some time out every now and then so that my life feels in balance. Being a mum can be all consuming and everyone takes to this differently, but for me, time out from the kids is critical to assist in re charging my batteries. My preferred time out is actually to exercise – if I was granted one child freehour a week to do what I like, I’d definitely choose exercise over a massage or sleep or anything else, as getting out in the fresh air and moving my body just makes me feel great physically and mentally. Plus you can combine exercise with catching up with a girlfriend so that it’s a social escape also!
If time out from the kids is not a possibility for you, you can squeeze exercise in during nap time or it is also so simple to incorporate your children into your exercise sessions. They might resist at first, but children are amazingly adaptable, and it will soon become a way of life for them to see you exercising, and they will enjoy being part of it. Babies can simply accompany you in the pram or baby carrier or be used as a weight for your strength sessions, and toddlers can help you count your repetitions, try to mimic your movements or become part of the activity. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to come on a run with me as I know this is something I will really enjoy as we all get older.
Everyone has different preferences for exercise, and you should do whatever appeals to you most (as then you are most likely to stick to it!), but if you’re open to suggestions and looking for guidance, here is what I would recommend as a really basic starting exercise program for new mums to try at home:
3 times per week:
20-30 minutes of cardio (walk, jog, cycle, swim etc)
Basic Leg Circuit
20 step ups
Basic Arm Circuit
20 Tricep dips
20 Bicep curls (using dumbells, theraband or tins of food)
20 Push ups (or modified push up)
20 Pelvic floor contractions
10 Side Bridges (Lie on your side then elevate your torso so your hips are off the ground, rest your top hand on your hips, supporting your body weight with your lower hand, slowly lower and raise your body)
10 Pelvic Lift (lie on your back with knees bent, brace your abdominals, draw your lower abdominals towards your lower back and engage and lift the pelvic floor, then tilt the pelvis towards your ribs, lifting your tailbone off the floor and push up and squeeze your bottom)
10 Supermans (Kneel on the ground with shoulders level, knees bent, back flat and head straight and pull your navel to your spine, then lift your right arm and left leg until they are both out straight, bracing your abdominals as you do so. Pause then swap to the other side).
Repeat each circuit 2 to 3 times (or build up to this!). If you are pregnant, cease doing the pelvic lift, side bridges and push ups and supermans as you near your third trimester – everything else is safe for pregnant women and new mums.
As always, you should not embark on an exercise program after having a baby until you have been cleared by your doctor (usually you should wait at least 6 weeks), and you should always work out at an intensity that is appropriate for your previous level of fitness and takes into consideration any injuries or illness. If you’re not already aware of diastasis recti and effective pelvic floor contractions, then this is something for you to learn more about also prior to embarking on an exercise program.
I hope by sharing a little bit about myself and a few exercise ideas I have managed to inspire you to become active and stay in great health for your children.
X Fi (aka Mumafit)
Ps: If you like the sound of this and would like to do more, a more detailed workout program incorporating a variety of exercises and specific programs for each trimester of pregnancy is available on the Mumafit app which we have recently launched on iphone and ipad to assist mums and mums to be to take control of their health and wellbeing. You can find out more about this on my website www.mumafit.com.au
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