It's officially 2019, where did 2018 go?! But with the new year comes a chance to start something new and it's the perfect time to jump straight in to your New Years resolutions. We have teamed up with our very own Kayleigh C who runs the amazing Postnatal Fitness classes at The Hub, our Bagshot destination for baby + parenting classes, events and talks.
Kayleigh aims to help mums smash their New Years resolutions of getting fit and healthy postpartum. Keep reading to find out about her top tips and five easy ways to get fit with your baby in 2019.
Do you want little ways to make a big New Year's difference? It can seem hard to commit to things when you are caring for at least one other person 24/7 and you probably spend a huge amount of your week running from one thing to another for your baby - but you are important too! Your health and well-being is paramount to your baby.
Taking a few minutes a day will give you the solid foundations needed to be strong and healthy!
1 – Strengthen your core and pelvic floor.
Many new mums underestimate the impact pregnancy and birth will have on their bodies. It is your inner core muscles that are most affected, and if you don't give them some love, you can end up with lower back pain, poor posture, a tummy pouch and incontinence.
As soon as your baby is born you can re-start the pelvic lifts your midwife would have encouraged you to do when pregnant.
Imagine you are stopping a wee, then a bottom burp(!) and pull up, without actually clenching your bum cheeks.
Do 10 of these, FULLY RELAXING the muscle in between each one. Then do 5 holding for as long as you can, building up to 10 seconds.
Straight after birth you can also start thinking about your breathing.
Lie on your back, place one hand on your chest and the other on your tummy. Take 2 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Think about which of your hands are rising. Repeat 5 times focusing on ensuring it is your tummy hand that is lifting when you inhale. Encouraging your diaphragm to start working fully again and using all the new available space will help to re build strength in your pelvic floor. Correct breathing will also limit the pressure that can make a 'tummy gap' worse.
The video below shows another simple exercise you can do to help start building your core strength as soon as you feel ready.
2 – Incorporate cardio into your daily life.
When you have a new baby, focusing on simply being more active day to day is much more achievable than trying to get back to the running/cycling you did pre-baby.
It is also much more effective and safe for your body. Aim to be active enough to raise your heart rate and be a bit out of breath for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a day.
Two of my favourite ways of doing this are walking and speed cleaning! Walking is amazing for you, whether you have children or not. Plus, it's free and anyone can do it anywhere! AND you get bonus vitamin D as well when the sun is shining!! Adding the weight of a baby carrier or pushchair is even better! Just make sure you check your posture every 5 minutes or so (roll your shoulders back and down, stand tall, tuck your chin and lengthen your neck).
What to maximise your cleaning time? Set the timer for 10/15 minutes and clean and tidy a room in your house fast. I love the feeling of this one when the timer goes off, you’ve had a workout and the house looks great!!
3-Eating and drinking well
What you eat and drink are one of the most important things for your health. When you have a new baby it’s really important to focus on eating well, rather than beating yourself up for having ‘bad’ foods. Make a point of having a banana for a snack and some veg with your dinner, rather than worrying too much about the biscuits you ate whilst feeding in front of your favourite box set!
Also drink water, lots of it!! Especially if you are breastfeeding but however you are feeding, being well hydrated will help combat tiredness. It can be hard in the winter to drink enough so try caffeine free herbal teas and a smoothie for breakfast, made with spinach, banana, frozen berries, water and a tablespoon of seeds.
Fill the house with quick and healthy snacks and lunch options. Even on your most organised days, you are going to be busy, so make it as easy for yourself as possible. Jacket potato with salad and tuna/prawns/beans is a really easy, healthy meal and if you can, invest in slow cooker that can work while you are out.
Don’t diet or count calories. Your weight may go up and down in the first months post baby, but by being as active as you can and enjoying healthy food most of the time you will get back to where you want to be in a healthy amount of time.
Finally BE KIND to yourself. Initially there will be days where you survive on cake and pizza. Anything you can eat one handed is a win on these type of days!!
The body can be very tight post baby and this can cause real soreness and aches in your muscles. This is mainly due to sitting or feeding and carrying your baby, car seat and all their other necessities!!
However fit and active you are post baby, the reality is that there is a huge amount of sitting at all hours day and night, in positions that are not always great for your body. Try and make sure you feed in a good supportive chair with lots of cushions and think about your posture.
Try also to use a baby carrier as much as possible, 6kgs balanced on your hip for hours on end will almost certainly lead to discomfort for you eventually! Much of this is unavoidable and actually we want to sit for hours cuddling our babies and carrying them around to keep them close - but taking 5 or 10 minutes a day to stretch out will ensure you keep as pain free as possible.
Having a moment for yourself and taking a few deep breaths while you stretch will work wonders for your mental health too. Find a quiet spot and enjoy the simple stretches in the video below.
5 - Exercise with friends
There are so many Mum and baby fitness classes available now, and the exercises are specifically designed for this time in your life. Going with a friend and making it an enjoyable part of your week almost makes the fitness side feel like a welcomed side effect! Bringing baby along eliminates the need and cost for childcare and a group environment means everyone is in this together. It is always great to see mums discussing the things they maybe don’t like to talk about elsewhere and realising we’re all in the same boat trying to make the best of it.
At this time of year the weather can make being outside tricky with a small baby so try and find a class in a nice indoor space. My classes run on a Tuesday morning at the Natural Baby Shower a super-relaxed environment, with all facilities you and baby might need on hand.
Finally keep the faith! There will be a time in your life again when you have more time for yourself…..but until then, try and prioritise a few things that you can make regular habits. Right now, it is about being as fit and as healthy as you can in the time you have! Until then, just enjoy your little one.
Come along to The Hub to join Kayleigh's Postnatal fitness classes and get fit with your baby in 2019!
You can see The Hub's weekly calendar here.