Staying active with your baby and getting them active too
Why be active
Whether you've already been getting more active or not, its never too late to start at whatever age you or your kids are.
There are huge benefits of being active when you have a baby, a toddler, or both. Exercise can feel like yet another thing on a long and exhausting to-do list but, it's false economy to skip it as being fitter and stronger means better sleep, improved mood having more energy to tackle all the other challenges of daily life as a parent. Some days you will be knackered and just need to flop on the sofa and rest or go to bed early and that's totally okay. Just make sure its not every day and you might be surprised, sometimes gentle activity can give you an instant energy boost.
By getting active regularly you will not only boost your own health but that of your kids. You are their biggest role model! Physical activity is key to their current and future health and the more active you are the more active they will be too.
Planning your exercise
A great place to start is to build up to the recommended amount of physical activity for women after childbirth in the first year, then progress to the amount recommended for adults (see infographics below, left and middle).
It's also time to start thinking about your little one's activity levels so aim to get them up to at least the activity levels recommended for ages 0-5 years (infographic below, right). Why not try getting active it together?
Listen to your body, take rest when you need to and just do what you can. You will make progress, then fall off the band waggon (maybe baby is teething or the kids or you are ill) but don't worry, just scale things back for a bit and start slowly again. Keep going mama you're making great progress, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes!
Activities you can try
Tiff from SASP has put together a a fun 20 minute home workout you and baby can do together.
For an overview of the workout that you can do in your own time check out the video below, or scroll down to the next video for the full workout you can follow along to where you'll get lots of great coaching tips to make sure you're getting the most from your session.
Let us know how you get on with it on our socials (see the links at the top of this page). Have a great workout!
Getting active when you have a baby or toddler can be a great way to spend time and have fun together. Equally, it can be one of the few times you get out or have some time for you so go with what feels right.
Below we have put together some suggestions for ways you can get active with or without baby.
Dancing with your baby is a great way to lift your heart rate and your mood! It can build activity into your day while you spend some fun time with baby boosting their development and activity too. Why not sing and dance along as you introduce baby to some of your favourite Disney songs with the Disney dance alongs? Alternatively you could put on some of your favourite music to sing and dance to and bring baby along for the ride, or just freestyle to some of your favourite tunes.
Tiff has been introducing Flo to one her favourites, the little mermaid under the sea!
Fancy dancing without baby? You could try the free dance sessions at Les Mills. If baby or toddler are in the room with you keep an eye on where they are in case they wander up behind you!
Singing and nursery rhymes are a great way to bond with baby and boost their development. Check out Tiny Happy People, a BBC resource created to give us parents ideas on how we can build our baby and toddler's worlds through language, play and movement. For example, did you know when a baby dances they not only improve their coordination but get a release of endorphins making them feel good!
Singing and dancing can be also be a great opportunity for you to get active too. Why not try doing your favourite (or most needed) exercises while singing nursery rhymes with baby? Tiff had a go at squat holds while singing Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes with Flo (video to the right), and added planks to Hop Little Bunnies which you can find here.
What nursery rhyme-exercise combinations can you think of? Get in touch to let us know if this works for you and your little one to get active and have fun together.
Home exercise workouts - mum and baby workouts will help to work on those post pregnancy problem areas so you could start, or continue with, the Les Mills free post-pregnancy exercise sessions for example. Les Mills also have a range of free workouts you can try, including body combat, HIIT and total body sessions.
Feeling a bit done in by all the news reports? Take a break from it all and unwind with this 15 minute free guided meditation.
Some instructors are continuing their mum and baby classes online during the current lock down. For example, Mum Fit are offering your first class free!
If you feel ready then now you can get back to, or start doing, home exercise sessions that are aimed at everyone, not just new mums. You'll probably find baby will enjoy watching you move or will instinctively join in! You may find you can include them instead of using weights. Why not check out he This Girl Can home exercise page for more info and take a look through the Sport England Stay Home Workout links to find something that looks right for you. Below are just a few of our favourites.
Visit the NHS fitness studio for aerobic sessions, strength workouts, yoga, Pilates and more.
This beginner Pilates session is a great place to start. Although it says it is for lower back pain it targets the same weakened core muscles us mums have trouble with post pregnancy so its great for getting back in shape and preventing back problems.
Yoga can be a great way to destress but also great for tackling some of the reduced flexibility us new mums experience, such as tight shoulders and hips. Adriene has loads of free sessions on her You Tube channel you can explore. Never done yoga before? Why not start with her Yoga for beginners session.
Walking and jogging - get out and get some fresh air using your one bout of exercise a day to either take a walk with baby or toddler in a carrier, buggy, push along trike or other contraption! Or take the opportunity to get some head space and head out alone. These are a great way to boost your cardiovascular fitness while also helping beat stress and cabin fever! Be sure to follow the government guidelines around social distancing.
Fancy trying jogging, returning to it, or just want a bit of structure to your jogging work outs? Why not give the Couch to 5k programme a go – it can get you started or works well to provide intervals of harder and easier work, one of the best ways to progress your fitness. You could try increasing your daily step count using a fitness app such as the Active 10 app or the Moving Medicine step counting booklet.
Cycling is a great way to improve and maintain mental and physical health. British cycling have guidance on how to get out on your bike while following the government guidance on COVID-19 so you could either get out on your own or if you have a pull along buggy or bike seat you could bring baby along too!
Cycling UK have loads of info on how to make cycling easier and more accessible to all. Check out their guide on family cycling during coronavirus here.
12 week programme - what does the recommended amount of physical activity look like as sessions across a week? And how can we use all these activities to get fitter and keep to a healthy weight? There is so much great free content out there you WILL find something you enjoy! But it can be a bit bamboozling figuring out how to bring it all together in a way that will give you the maximum health and energy boost. The NHS have put together a 12 week programme using their free content that you can access here to get you started, or to give you an idea of how to structure similar sessions across the weeks.
Set a goal - want to set a personal goal and not sure where to start? Why not try using the Moving Medicine goal setting booklet to turn your ideas into SMART goals.
Staying active as a family at home - checkout our be active at home page for children and families at the SASP website for loads more ideas on how to keep active with your family while staying at home.
Community Active Lifestyle Officer
- 01823 653990