We have covered fitness in pregnancy, post-delivery and beyond. And most of my descriptions talk about activities that I did/do while my baby is asleep. And really, I think that if you want to make serious change to your body and have a more dramatic result, you have to do it that way in order to be able to push yourself without keeping one eye on the baby. But what about doing things with your little one?
First, the very act of taking care of a baby is quite physical. Picking up, putting down, rocking, holding, trying to hold while they feed (the older they get, the more acrobatic they become – a challenge no matter what, most especially when you are breastfeeding and they try to take the boob with them!) – and so it goes. There are also classes that incorporate your baby into exercise, but I don’t know much about them since I could never get the timing to work for Pixie and also they seemed a little silly to me. But I have friends who love those, so there is that.
But there are also plenty of things that you can do that are “getting active” with your baby without paying for and having to deal with the scheduling of classes. Walks, I have mentioned before, and really are the perfect example. You can take the pram, in which case you are pushing something with weight. Adding things to the weight, going for hills and speeding up your walking can increase the challenge and fitness level. Taking the baby in a baby carrier works your legs and core by adding the baby’s weight onto your body. Again, you can go for hills and increase your speed for more burn.
Another favourite in our house is the dance session. Now, I am a terrible singer. And I won’t ever win awards for my dance moves. But you know what? My baby loves both my singing and my fierce moves. Go figure. So something we love to do is dance around the house, accompanied by either my atrocious singing or real music (she isn’t picky). And let me tell you, dancing around with a baby in your arms is no joke. Singing adds to the challenge, but anything upbeat with definitely get the blood flowing, and in all likelihood also get your baby laughing like crazypants which is its own reward!
Another one. My baby loves to be lifted. Whether it is airplane around the house or just lifting up and down like an elevator, the sensation of being up higher than everyone is novel to babies and they just seem to love it. And in the meantime, you get a fantastic arm, shoulder and core workout.
In addition to these, all the time you spend with your baby can be active if you keep mindful about it. Leaning down, sitting down and getting up again, squatting with baby in your arms (for all reasons – to pick up toys, clear the dishwasher, anything), rolling around, tickles – all of these things take physical effort. I’m sure there are more dedicated activities you can do with your baby, but these are the most common in our house, and the main benefit is that you end up spending great quality time with your little one. My baby loves when we play with her, and she loves going for walks, so it is a win-win situation. Most of this is common sense, but sometimes it helps things to sink in. Happy playing!