No matter how fit you were before baby, motherhood has a way of distracting you from your daily workout routine. But there's never been a time when fitness is more important -- not just for your own health, but for your baby's health too! Because being an active mom is the best way to model active behavior for your baby.
To share some mama “fitspiration," we've partnered with Skip Hop, whose new Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper will give you the space you need to get back into the workout saddle. Below, Well Rounded's fitness editor and prenatal/postpartum fit coach Roma van der Walt shares how she's training for Marathon #4 with her 8-month old baby Max by her side. Literally.
I tried to get back into running as early as 3 weeks postpartum because I ran until the day before I went into labor. Running helped me rebuild strength to get rid of some diastasis recti that I had developed during my pregnancy. I worked on my pelvis and did yoga for stretching. After 8 months, I'm feeling closer to my old self. I'm planning a half marathon for Max's first birthday and a full marathon the month after.
I sometimes ask myself what I did with all my spare time before Max! Now, exercising and running is my alone time and my own therapy. I work up a sweat, have time to think and come home happier. It also improves my circulation, skin and sleep, and when I run with friends, it's social time too, which is so important when my time is so limited.
Because I don't have much childcare, I do most of my workouts with the baby. If I go running, he comes along in the stroller. When we get home, I'll put him in his Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper and we stretch or do yoga “together." He thinks it's hilarious. I want to start swimming again so that will be something I can't take him to.
Max has been running with me since he was in my belly and I ran up to 2 days before he was born. There have been studies that claim that babies who are exposed to a constantly changing environment (temperature, metabolism, oxygen levels) in utero become more adaptable. When we resumed our running, I think Max remembered the motion and figured out that there was a lot to see, but also that napping in the stroller is great! I hope that he can retain the love for running (and napping!).
We often take our dog out for a morning walk but I also love watching him discover new motor skills on his own. It's amazing how active babies are and how quickly they turn an attempt into a skill. Like holding a bottle or attempting to crawl or jumping in the Skip Hop Jumpscape. Frankly, it's exhausting to watch.
The honest answer? Get out super early or after bedtime. I'm not an evening person, so winter is when I get my mom running gang all together. We keep each other accountable to head out at 6am, or sometimes earlier. For others, though, it may be getting up just 30 minutes earlier and fitting in some yoga or meditation.
It helps so much to have good gear! Whether it's the snowsuit for Max now that it's colder, a jogging stroller that can maneuver a bumpy Brooklyn sidewalk, or a place to entertain Max while I'm working out at home. Anything that minimizes my additional work to maximize my active time is a plus in my book.
While I love to be active outdoors, it's so great to have a spot indoors where Max is entertained and challenged while being safe. The Skip Hop Jumpscape provides just that. It's elevated so I can quickly sit Max in it while I put my shoes on to head out, or I can roll my yoga mat out in front of it and he can watch me at eye level while I do yoga. If he gets bored with me, he can play on his own. It's amazing to see what he's learning while I'm stretching.
Just one? I really believe in self-care. Exercise is non-negotiable, but I also try to get to acupuncture once a week or get out without the baby to see a friend. If it's a great week, I would get a massage or a facial!
The best advice is what I've seen in my work over the last years is to get someone to get active with. Find someone to be your early morning partner or a mom who has a child the same age that you can meet for a walk, a mommy and me yoga class or playdate. Even getting in a 7-minute workout is better than nothing.
Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.