Squeezing in fitness between naptimes and all baby’s needs can be quite the challenge for new moms. Not only is it hard to find the time, you may be reluctant to resume exercise after pregnancy since your body has gone through so many changes. This week’s Mom Tip Monday comes from Annie Goodchild, Sport and Recreation programmer and coach, who brings some advice for new moms looking to get back in the groove after baby.

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Annie in full fitness action

Whether you’re returning to physical activity after your pregnancy or getting active for the first time, a new mom can feel apprehensive about getting her body moving again. Working in the sport and recreation industry for many years for a women-only sport organization I have often been asked for advice on how to get into sport after pregnancy and I have been asked many questions that I know are in the heads of other moms.

For women who want to get back into physical activity, there are some very important things to consider before you start.

1. Time
How long will it take you to get to wherever you’re going? Can you bring baby? If so, how long will it take to prep for the trip? If someone can watch the baby for you, consider your needs to pump and make sure your activity fits in well. Individual activities like running, yoga, cycling, hiking are great for breastfeeding moms because you can easily manipulate your day to fit in an outing when your baby can be cared for and you won’t need to pump.

2. Baby-Friendly
Team sports that utilize substitutions are a great place to start. People who are on the bench can keep an eye on the baby while you play, and should baby need you, it is easy to call a substitution. Many cities offer recreational level leagues or introductory programs for those new to sport. Never be afraid to try something new because you have the best excuse for being out of shape — you’ve been growing a baby for nine months, birthed the little thing, and for some, continue to expel many calories feeding that same baby.

3. Diet and Water Consumption
Be aware of what you’re eating and drinking to ensure that your body has all it needs to keep up with your new activity. This may mean consuming even more calories (healthy ones) to fuel your body and drinking even more water to stay hydrated once you start sweating. Remember: if you get thirsty, you didn’t drink enough water that day. Bringing a big bottle to the activity won’t really help — hydrate all day!

4. Listen to Your Body
Don’t fight through pain. Injury can put off your reintegration into physical activity even longer, which will keep you from reaping the benefits even longer. Stretching is the best way to avoid soft tissue injury so stretch thoroughly after any activity.

5. Your Healthy Habits Rub Off
If your little one is introduced to physical activity by watching you participate, they are far more likely to be physically active as an adult. Bring your baby along as much as you can so that from a young age physical activity is considered the norm. This will also give your little one an opportunity to see their mother do something positive for themselves which can go a long way in molding a healthy self-acceptance later in life.

Physical activity benefits everyone in the family — even your baby! Contact local recreation departments or fitness professionals in your community to connect to what’s going on around you.

Always consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before starting any new physical activities. A thorough check-up is the first step to establishing where your body stands in preparation for physical activity.

Also, remember that you’re a new person now and your old activities may not fit as neatly in your life as they used to. Mommy-friendly groups are a great place to start and a great place for women new to physical activity to try something in a supportive, non-competitive environment.

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Thank you Annie for these tips on fitness for new moms. Stay tuned for another great mom tip next week! Be sure to share your ideas with us.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Steal Network or its employees.