By Rita Brhel, managing editor and attachment parenting resource leader (API)
Pregnancy changes a woman’s body, and in ways that last long after the baby comes. Many women find that their shoes no longer fit, or that they’ve developed gallbladder and other health issues they didn’t have before. Some women find that pregnancy seems to cure previously untreatable medical conditions such as frequent headaches or, for me, a sense of smell that disappeared after a concussion in elementary school.
Almost universally, women find that their body shape has changed, too. Even with breastfeeding, which is the best postnatal weight-loss plan, mothers may not lose all their baby fat or their metabolism may slow down.
While you can easily reason that your body’s problem area, whether that’s your hips or waist, is a worthy tradeoff for your baby, it may be necessary for your sense of family and personal balance to adopt an exercise program – not to mention, the boost of health benefits that comes along with getting into shape. According to Fun-Baby-Games-Online.com, exercising wards off not only the risks that come with obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease, but also depression and osteoporosis. It also gives you an outlet for stress and improves your stamina so you keep going on those days, or nights, when the kids are running circles around you.
The challenge with exercise is first making it a priority, so it’s something that you do regularly. Second, you’ll need to choose activities where a baby or child can accompany you. With a baby, a sling or carrier or stroller can keep baby with you. But, as a child grows older, it’ll be more appropriate to choose games that both of you can do together.
Some easy activities to do with a baby in tow include:
- Yoga or pilates
- Walking, or running with the baby in a stroller
- Bicycling with baby in a safety seat or child trailer
- Weight room or gym training activities
Toddlers like music and a lot of movement but only for short amounts of time, such as:
- Playing tag
- Kicking a ball around the yard
- Bicycling with child in a child trailer
An older child or teen can participate in just about any sport you choose. The trick will be choosing an activity both of you enjoy, but the list is virtually unlimited:
- Running or walking
Getting back into shape is more than helping yourself feel more balanced. It’s a great way to teach your child the importance of maintaining personal health, which goes hand-in-hand with eating nutritious foods and getting enough sleep. And should you feel passionate about a certain activity, say you love to play and watch basketball, it’s a way you can share this part of your life with your child.
What activities or games have you found to help you get exercise while strengthening the bond with your child? Comment below, or discuss this topic on the new Good for You! health and wellness section of the API Forum, such as this new post on stubborn belly fat.