Are you a new mom or a veteran mom trying to get back in shape? Are you wondering how to work out when you have a baby at home? Or maybe you have a baby and a toddler, like me? Sometimes it seems impossible to get anything done, yet alone work out. Let me share some fantastic tips on how to get a work out in when you have a baby or a toddler, both, or even older kids!
Affiliate disclaimer: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase or sign up for a service.
Medical disclaimer: Nothing in this piece should be taken as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your doctor. Please consult your doctor or physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Change your expectations
I have a confession to make with you guys. I am a huge fan of the gym and before kids I was a total gym rat. Before becoming a mom, I would work out five to six days a week. It was something that was natural to me and that helped my stress levels and mood. I would work out any where from 30 minutes to an hour.
Even before I had my son, my work out habits changed. I had cleared it with my doctor to continue working out but then I pulled a ligament in my leg. It was incredibly painful and I couldn’t walk without crutches. People would stare at me since I was nine months pregnant and hobbling around on crutches!
All kinds of crazy things happened when I had my son. My son was in the NICU and then I still couldn’t walk very far without being in immense pain. I spent so much time breastfeeding and pumping that working out was impossible for those first few months.
I’m telling you all this because as moms we need to be gentle with ourselves. Sometimes we want our bodies to change so quickly after they just spent nine months creating a baby. I’m here to give you practical tips but I also think sometimes as moms we are too hard on ourselves and on our bodies.
Get your timing right
One of the biggest things that has helped me is realizing that I may not be able to get a full work out in at once. I sure do miss the days of working out for an entire hour uninterrupted but now, I have a bigger joy of being a mom to two incredible kids.
Working out before your kids wake up, during nap time, or after they go to bed is great but sometimes it’s just not practical. As moms, we have so much stuff going on. We have meals to cook, dishes to do, bills to pay, and sometimes we just need a minute to chill out. If you’re able to work out during these times then great, but I wanted to share some more practical advice for squeezing in some exercise and getting back in shape.
Little Tikes Swing
Both of my kids adore their Little Tikes swings. Instead of just standing there while pushing them I like to do squats and lift weights in between pushes. I can get at least twenty minutes from them swinging. It may not be completely uninterrupted but it’s something!
Just be careful with the weights you don’t want a child to try to lift it and drop it on their foot or have an accident with them. I always put our weights up right away after using them.
Pushing your baby or toddler in the swing while doing a mini workout is one of my biggest mom hacks for exercising. What kid doesn’t love the swing?
Ankle weights are no longer just a thing of the 80s. They are making a huge comeback. They are a really versatile work out accessory. According to Shape.com:
Selena Gomez walks around Disney with them. And Kayla Itsines never flies without them. Ankle weights are having a serious moment right now. And trainers agree the fitness accessory of the ’80s has staying power in both a healthy lifestyle and a workout routine of today.
These are seriously great to strap on while doing a stroller walk or even just chores around the house.
Another great tip I have for how to workout when you have a baby is to use a jump rope. Did you know if you do a double jump when you jump rope you can burn up to ten calories a minute? That’s a lot! Jumping rope is a great way to get a workout in if you have kids old enough to jump rope with you. It is also a great activity to keep your heart healthy.
If you don’t have older kids, jumping rope also makes for a really fast and effective work out when you can get a few minutes to yourself since it’s a high calorie burning activity.
You obviously don’t want to hit anyone with the jump rope so doing this activity with older kids or waiting until you have a few minutes during nap time or before your baby wakes up may be ideal.
Be sure to pick up an exercise quality one for yourself and a child friendly one for your child if they’re old enough.
If you want to mix it up or if your baby or toddler gets tired of the stroller, try a push car. Almost every toddler I have ever known is a huge fan of these. We love ours for short walks up and down our block. We keep it by the front door at our house for easy access.
You may not be able to hike trails with this thing but this is especially great if you have a stroller hating child. It’s great for neighborhood walks and keeping your toddler happy.
Our jogging strollers have really gotten some use in our family. Except during extreme temperatures (it gets really, really hot here in Texas) we go on a walk almost every day. I have a great review of our BOB strollers here. That’s right, I love them so much that we have not one but two BOBs.
I have also heard great things about the Baby Trend stroller from moms in my walking group. Going on walks with other moms has been a great way for me to make friends and get some exercise. Being a stay at home mom is very isolating at times and I’m so thankful that I invested in a great jogging stroller.
I’ve also seen some great groups that get together and do stroller workouts together such as Stroller Strides. These are also a fantastic way to both get some exercise and make some mom friends.
If you live somewhere hot like I do, you may also want to invest in some stroller fans.
I’m so lucky to be part of an amazing homeschool preschool group. It is a small group of five and we all take turns hosting and teaching lessons. One of our recent lessons was actually a yoga session. The kids had fun and I was impressed that my oldest child actually paid attention and tried the poses.
If you have a baby, be sure to check out mommy and baby yoga. There are a ton of great videos on YouTube such as this one:
If your kids are older they may surprise you and do some poses with you. My oldest loves to do a few poses with me.
Join a gym with child care
This may not be feasible for everyone. Sometimes it’s just not in the budget to join a gym or we’re not ready for someone else to watch our baby yet.
I know when I had my son there wasn’t even a gym near us that had childcare. It can also be really hard to leave your baby with someone else, especially when you are a new mom.
If you have friends that recommend a good gym with a quality child care then go for it! Definitely, check online reviews and do a tour beforehand. If joining a gym keeps you sane then go for it. I’m lucky that since moving and having my second child we are now members of a great gym with fantastic child care staff.
Be gentle with yourself
One of the main things I’ve learned in my motherhood journey is that in this season of life it’s hard to have it all. With a baby or a toddler it is very difficult to have perfectly cooked meals, a perfectly cleaned house that is decorated and organized, to dress cute, to be fit, and whatever else! Just do your best every day and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Even a small work out is a victory. One of the best books I’ve read as a mom isn’t even targeted to mothers. The books is called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Basically, the book talks about how all the small things we do each day add up to something big over time. I’m a firm believer in the Compound Effect and I don’t let having to work out in increments bother me.
Have you found it difficult to work out with your baby or toddler? What are some of your best tips for staying fit as a mom?
If you liked this post on how to work out when you have a baby, you might also like:
- How to get things done when you have a baby
- Is a Baby Brezza worth it?
- Honest Co diapers review
- Is a BOB stroller worth it?
- How to get Lululemon for less