How I Balance Baby Care with Exercise

Before I got pregnant, exercise was an important part of my daily life. Today, with my very active 15-month-old at my side, I’m struggling to fit exercise into my routine.

My local YMCA offers a child watch service, so I take a one-day Zumba class and a two-day water aerobics class. Not only does this allow me to work out, but my son gets to socialize and is getting used to other people taking care of him.

Before the baby, I worked out Monday through Friday for up to three hours a day. That included aerobics workouts, strength training, and daily walks with my dog (who, sadly, passed away in October 2010).

The daily walks were one of the only things I could do in the late stages of my pregnancy, and for the few months my dog was still alive, I walked with both her and the baby. She loved smelling the outdoor air, feeling the sun on her fur.

While I no longer walk daily, I’ve continued the habit. At first, it made me sad to walk without my dog, but my son really enjoys our walks. He alternates between babbling happily or quietly drifting into sleep. Some days, we walk to a park, where I push him on the swings or run with him through the grass.

Taking a few tips from other moms, I’ve tried to find other ways to increase my activity. I bought a pedometer, which keeps me conscious of how much I walk, encouraging me to move more.

I’ve started working extra exercise into my evening work time. I take small breaks to do some push ups or sit ups, or leg bends. Not only does it add to my activity, but it also helps keep me alert.

Recently, I’ve discovered that my son actually enjoys it when I do an aerobics workout at home. He watches the instructor on the TV, bounces up and down, and seems amused by my actions. This is much better than when he was a newborn and cried when I turned my attention away from him.

While I’m still far from what I’d done before my son, I’m gradually finding ways to balance mothering with exercise. They may be baby steps, but they’re adding up.

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