Taking care of a young baby takes time and energy, and moms often feel they have little left of either to do anything else. Yet, it’s important that moms stay active and healthy. Daily exercise actually boosts your energy level, so finding creative ways to do this can give you the stamina you need as a parent. This doesn’t mean you need to reactivate your gym membership and start hitting the body pump class again. Your new life with a little baby can be hectic enough, so keep your exercise routine simple and make it something you enjoy. Keeping your baby active also encourages motor development and coordination. Here are some ways you can work in a little exercise with your baby or toddler into your daily routine.
A daily stroll around the neighborhood
- Bring baby along for the ride. Invest in a jogging stroller and begin each day with a brisk walk around the neighborhood. What better way to show off you new bundle of joy? You may also meet other new moms who are out doing the same thing.
- Start slow. Take it easy at first. If you find yourself out of breathe after just a few minutes, you may be pushing yourself too hard, too soon. You can work up to a brisk walk and even a jog over a few months.
- Be baby’s tour guide. Be sure you talk to baby as you walk or jog along. Your baby will enjoy hearing your voice in the early months. As baby gets older, you can begin to point out the scenery and label common objects. Teach baby familiar sounds, such as cars, animals, and airplanes, that you may hear along the way.
- Make pit stops. Stop a few times along the way to point out anything especially interesting, such as a friendly dog to touch, another baby to see, or some colorful flowers to pick.
- Keep baby busy. If baby gets bored, bring along some clip-on or hanging stroller toys for entertainment. Have some teething toys on hand once baby is four months old that you can clip to the stroller as well.
- Sling dancing. Enjoy a favorite exercise video with baby in a sling-type carrier. Baby will enjoy your rhythmic dance moves.
- Floor exercises. Lie on your back and lift baby up on your legs or feet. Hold onto baby’s arms while you play “airplane”.
- Rhythm and clapping. Let your toddler watch the exercise video with you and encourage her to dance and clap to the music, or mimic any moves you make. Bending, stretching, jumping, and spinning are all great ways to enhance coordination.
- Swimming. Enjoy this great form of exercise together. Choose a class that involves swimming exercise for both you and baby. Place baby in a safe floatation device and push him around the pool.
- Park time. Instead of basking in the sun on a park bench, make your play at the park more active. Bring along a ball that you can run around and kick with your toddler. Have running races. Run around and chase butterflies and birds together. Pull your baby around the park in a wagon.
- Backyard fun. Get your toddler used to enjoying the outdoors. This may mean she’ll spend more active playtime outside as she grows up, instead of staying indoors and inactive. Blow bubbles for your baby or toddler to chase after, chase balls together, encourage safe climbing on a play set, or anything else that keeps you both active.
- Beach time. Nothing works out the legs as a brisk walk along the beach. Make this a weekly activity if you happen to live nearby.
- Riding toys. As your child gets older, spend some time together riding bikes, scooters, or any other safe riding toys you enjoy.