So, you’ve had one baby (or maybe more). Your pregnancy may have been a dream or it may have been tough. You’ve been immersed in the baby bubble for a while now and you can just about feel yourself surfacing. Your baby may be giving you some sort of routine but you just don’t quite feel like taking the next step back on to the exercise train. You walk, sometimes you might even break a sweat on your daily circuit around the park but mostly you just shuffle. Your body is moving, but your mind is elsewhere. You are on the downward spiral of non-exercise.
Take a moment. Stop what you are doing. Stop just going through the motions and give yourself that big kick up the bum that you need to reverse that spiral. Let’s look at what we can so to create energy in your life; to help you and shoot for the stars! Lack of movement creates even less movement, but the good news is that energy creates energy…. woohoo!
Five key steps to movement and motivation
• Put your mind in the muscle. Regain a sense of presence when you exercise. It is amazing the results you will achieve when you are in the moment and your whole self comes to the party. It is very easy to just go through the motions, arms and legs moving but not really doing the work. Think about the muscles you are using, and you will feel AND see the benefits.
• Shake it up and try something new. If you have been walking the same route for the last three months and you could do it with your eyes closed, it’s time to mix it up. Pick up the pace, search out a new route, add some hills or put bub in the bjorn and do some steps (slow and steady on the way down). The main thing is to break the monotony.
• Find someone new. There’s that woman in your mother’s group who is looking fantastic. You’re not sure how, but you are now going to find out. Sit next to her and drill her at your next catch up – hell, even be brave enough to ask if you can join in her exercise regime. If someone is doing something that works it’s bound to add motivation.
• Fine-tune your diet. Not only do you shuffle around the park but you’ve mastered the one-handed pram push so you can sip your hot chocolate in the other. Changing your eating habits can make such a difference to your energy levels and mood. Keep a food diary for a few days to get a snapshot of your daily eating habits.
• Become accountable by joining a group session. Book a one-on-one session with a trainer or join a gym – part with some money and make a date. One less hot chocolate per day would pay for a group training session and without that drink in hand you will just have to pick up the pace a little (talk about killing two birds with one stone!). Training with others is a great way to get into the groove and meet other mums at the same time.
Finding the time and energy after having a baby can be challenging both mentally and physically, but the sooner you do it the better you will feel. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to ward off postnatal depression and improve your sense of well being. We get so swept up in being mothers that we often neglect our own needs and sense of self. I challenge you to be a little bit selfish and take care of you. You may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but you will soon feel the benefits.
Remember: When mummy feels great, baby benefits too.