My relationship with exercise can only be described as ‘love-hate’.
I know it’s good for me, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get out of bed to take part in a 12km ‘fun’ run – believe me, no part of it was fun, nor did it give me the opportunity to ‘gather my thoughts’ like it does for so many runners, because all I could think for 12km was ‘how long do I have to go?’
Finding the time to run has only decreased since the birth of my daughter 12 months ago as I try to find ways to factor in her needs and take her along with me when possible.
For mums with babies, exercise can seem impossible, but there are ways to get out and get fit.
Exercise during pregnancy was hard due to constant acid reflux and heartburn, so after Olivia’s birth, I decided to get back into an exercise routine and started with one of the easiest exercises available – walking. Perth mums are lucky to have an abundance of footpaths and walking trails available and most are pram friendly. It’s also a great way for mums with newborns to get out of the house every day. Just wrap bub up in winter and keep them cool and shaded in summer. Don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear.
If you lack the motivation to get out or love wearing your baby while walking, try a baby-wearing walking group. You’ll need a baby carrier, such as a Baby Bjorn, sling or wrap, and you’ll join other baby-wearing mums on a walk. Most walks are organised on Facebook, and there are groups north and south of the river.
Wearing baby for a walk
You can also try stair climbing. If you live south of the river, Manning Park has a newly opened stairway with 192 steps to tackle. It’s a great alternative to Jacob’s Ladder, located in Perth, which has recently re-opened after repairs and maintenance, but remains a popular destination for Perth fitness fanatics. You can use a baby carrier to cart bub up and down the stairs for an advanced workout, but just be careful to hold onto the handrail, and also ensure baby is appropriately dressed.
Stair climbing is a great way to get toned.
Playgrounds are no longer just for children. Many now feature outdoor fitness equipment next to kids’ climbing frames, complete with instructions about how to get the best out of each piece of equipment. While they are not as sophisticated as electric gym equipment, older kids and adults alike can get some fresh air and raise the heart rate. This may be the type of exercise to take a partner or friend along to and alternate babysitting duties.
Outdoor fitness equipment is popping up all over Perth.
Children change every single facet of your life – and finding a gym is no different. I’ve been a ‘yoyo gym-goer’ over the years and have joined and left various chains. Once baby comes along, the logistics of childcare can rule out most gym franchises and mums are limited to a select few that offer crèche facilities. I chose a local gym that offers a crèche service so I can work out or take a fitness class knowing Olivia is being cared for by childcare professionals. Most crèche services are offered for an hourly fee and are available for mornings only, although some do offer an afternoon crèche service.
Another massive factor is the cost - joining a gym can seem like a massive commitment, especially if you are on a tight budget. I decided to sacrifice my daily ritual of buying a coffee when I was out and about, which was a waste of money because I have a perfectly good espresso machine at home. This saved me around $35 a week – more than enough to cover my weekly gym membership and the crèche fees.
A creche is a safe space for babies while mum works out.
You don’t need a lot of time to exercise, just the motivation to get out and do it – so take bub along for the ride and get those endorphins flowing.