Exercising With a Baby in the House: Tips for Parents on How to Stay Active

A few weeks ago I posted a question on dailymile asking how people managed to stay active with a newborn baby in the house (my current challenge!). In addition to the great responses I got in the comments after my post, I also received a very thoughtful message from my dailymile friend Christina H. of the See Mom Run Bike Swim blog (Christina’s dailymile profile picture can be seen to the left). She put together a great list of “stay-active” tips for parents of little ones, and she graciously allowed me to edit and re-post her tips here on Runblogger – here they are:


1. SLEEP! We ALL want to train and sometimes we try to fit it in when the baby is napping. However, sometimes naptime for baby should also be time for mom/dad to at least catch a 15-20 min nap. We all need rest.

2. Moby Wraps (am I advertising? Sorry, but this is a LIFESAVER). Unlike many baby carriers (which work as well) the Moby wraps the baby nice and warm to your chest. They are warm and close, but you are hands free and can still go for a walk. Do some exercise!

3. Get a Jogging Stroller. There are carseat adapters for most all jogging strollers nowadays. INVEST. Look on Craigslist if price is a concern. DADS – baby loves MOVING (as do we!), so give mom some ALONE time. Take that baby for a run, keep close to the house just in case there is a meltdown. MOMS – same as above, get out there walk/jog/run with the baby. Even if you can get only 20 min in it will clear the mind.

4. Stroller Strides (totally had to throw this in since I’m an instructor). Go to www.strollerstrides.com and find a class near you. Total body workout for the PRE and POST natal body. DADS – dont be scared or think you’re too cool to do this. I have plenty of dads come out and get a GREAT workout in. They are always surprised!

Stroller Strides Logo

5. SCHEDULE. Sometimes with little ones schedules get thrown out the door. I encourage you to schedule two times in your day to get a workout in. If one fails, the other might pull through.

6. CYCLE. If you need to get out there, just GO. Keep your rides to 30 min. Remember that there is a mom or dad at home with the baby. Baby down for at least 30 min? – try hopping on an indoor trainer. Remember that being on a trainer is the equivalent to time and a half on the road (that’s the rumor and I’m sticking to it!). The baby might like the sound of the wheel, or lock yourself in another room with your baby monitor and SPIN SPIN SPIN!

7. SWIMMING. This can be a hard one, but my husband and I switch off. We go with the kids and each swim for 30 min. Then we let the older one jump in the pool with us at the end as a reward for being good while we swam.

There are so many options out there for staying active. MOST IMPORTANT of all is being open and talking with your partner. Let each other know that you would like to train, and sit down and work out a SCHEDULE. Not pointing fingers, but there are some dads and moms who neglect to make time for their partner to get some exercise in. SHARE time. Exercise helps ward off post-partum depression. No one wants the wifey going off the deep end (personal experience http://seemomrunbikeswim.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-happened.html). Also, moms need to recognize that dads take on alot as well, and we need to remember to let them breathe and run so they can have the strength to come back and relieve us.

In my house there is A LOT of passing children back and forth. But we work it out, we include the children in our workouts, and we remember to support one another. We have a 2 year old and an 8 month old and we are BOTH training for Ironman Cancun 70.3 in September. Things can get hard with all of the training, but it’s something we both NEED. It’s what we live off of. I spend my mornings at Stroller Strides and afternoons on the trail biking or running or in the gym hitting weights and swimming. REMEMBER there IS time. Its IS HARD, but my FAV quote and what I live by is: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”

Christina H.
See Mom Run Bike Swim

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.



Comments

  1. I’ve been thinking about this too. I’m 5 months pregnant, have a 2.5 year old already, and I want to run a marathon next May (to qualify for Boston). Probably sounds crazy. I’ve been able to have a very active pregnancy so far running 40-50 miles a week, but with a new born? I don’t know…I also have a treadmill though. That should help? Come September, life will be much more interesting that’s for sure!

    • Pete Larson says:

      It’s tough, and probably moreso on mom if you’re planning to breastfeed.
      It’s been four weeks since our baby was born, and my wife is just starting
      to contemplate working out again – she’s going to try going back to Yoga
      this weekend. I’m game to try and hold the fort, but it requires a lot more
      planning than it used too!

      Pete

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