Exercising is critical for maintaining a strong body, decreasing the risk of chronic diseases, and safeguarding mental health, especially for new mothers.
Apart from helping regulate body weight, working out can be a kind of therapy that reduces the stress that comes with caring for a newborn.
When she welcomed her second child, Mary Ng’ang’a was in dilemma about when and how to resume her routine workouts.
However being a regular fitness mom, the idea of just staying in the house was too much for her because of the fear of gaining more weight.
“Baby weight is not an embarrassment. It is a beautiful sign of the miracle and blessing that coincides with pregnancy. Some people have good DNA. They can lose the baby weight so fast and hit the gym one week after giving birth. Then, there are those who need to put extra effort to get back, and the journey might be something else,” says Mrs Ng’ang’a.
For Marion Kathambi, the story was different when she delivered her second child three years ago. Being a loyal visitor to the gym, she never had difficulties resuming her workouts.
“My firstborn was a responsible seven-year-old girl. So I could just leave her with her sister, rush to the gym and come back as first as possible,” says Ms Katahmbi.
However, jangling children, work, and workouts can be a nightmare if not well-planned.
“Your days are busy from the moment you wake up. Between getting the children set for the day, running your household, and managing your career, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Finding time to work out in the middle of it all is the key point,” advises Ms Kathambi.
So, how can a busy mom find time to exercise?
Joshua Ogara a private fitness coach says the secret lies in planning.
“Exercise is a powerful way to help us feel better. As a busy mom, you need to recognise that every stage of motherhood is different. With the planning tips, you can be able to create an exercise plan that fits your lifestyle,” says Mr Ogara.
First, ensure that you make arrangements for the little ones. The reason why your fitness schedule is changing is because of them so you have to find out how to handle them, children, during your workout schedule.
Remember making time to work out becomes more difficult with each additional child. It all depends on the place you are doing your workouts, if it’s a child-friendly area, involving them is one way to solve the issue.
“Asking for help from a trusted person to watch over your children is another way to help you stick to your workout plan,” he says.
You can still talk to them during this time, which eases some of the guilt many moms experience when thinking about whether or not they should make time to exercise.
Second, ensure you make an appointment with yourself. Just like how you would commit to any other important appointment, women who are juggling a busy lifestyle should prioritise their fitness by putting it on a calendar.
Would you dream of missing the presentation you have been waiting for, or missing a client? That is how you should honour your daily calendar.
“Write your class times in your day planner, have your assistant block off your weekly workouts in your meeting book, or you can as well enter your workout windows in your Google Calendar” notes the coach.
He says by so doing you will be able to organise and protect your exercise time. It’s a simple trick, but it can go a long way toward helping yourself stay accountable.
Prioritising the workout is very important. There is nothing as easy as compromising your fitness goals when you don’t have a clear motivation to work out.
This can however be prevented by visualising the “why” that keeps you motivated.
“The ‘why’ fitness is important to you could be; to stay fit and avoid health problems, to feel good in your clothes and body, to stay strong and active so you can keep up with your kids as they grow or reclaim your body after having a baby. No matter what your motivation is, finding a way to keep it top of mind is critical.”
Finally, to make your workout even easier, Mr Ogara says creating a home gym could be such a perfect idea.
“Creating a gym at home can be as simple as purchasing a few main items, such as dumbbells, resistance bands, and an exercise ball, or even stationary exercise machines like the bicycle to help you work out seamlessly in the comfort of your home," he adds.