Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Dance like no one's watching...

Two things I often hear Mum's chat about are 'getting out of the house' and losing weight.  There are lots of options for the first one and while I appreciate that not every new mum is brimming with confidence, try to remember that everyone's in the same boat! Baby groups and classes are not only a great way to get out and meet new people, they also offer unique opportunities to bond with your baby over a shared new experience. I didn't even know there was such a thing as baby yoga or that baby wearing dance classes existed but they have turned out to be two of our favourite maternity leave pass times!

Lots of companies offer a free or discounted taster session the first time you go to a new class, this is a great way of finding things that are right for you and your baby. It's not just about finding the right activity, it's also about ensuring you get the most for your money by trying to find classes or groups that happen while your baby is at their most content (e.g. Not at nap time or at a time when they usually have a big feed). There are also some lovely, completely free activities run by the library service across Gloucestershire, Honey and I meet friends at Cheltenham Children's library once a month for 'Bounce and Rhyme', then head to Blue Skies afterwards for a gossip (and a cake)!

The second most popular topic of conversation, losing weight can prove more difficult for many. The best course of action is to take things slowly and enjoy it! With my fitness instructor hat on, I should tell you that training at least three times a week, incorporating both resistance and cardiovascular training will give you the best results, but with my new mum hat on, I know that this can be a challenge! In my opinion, variety is the key, you are more likely to want to exercise if you are having fun. At first, just start with a gentle walk as soon as possible (unless you've had a caesarian, then please listen to the advice of your doctor about when to start exercising), you'll be surprised by how much ground you can cover in those first few weeks as you proudly push your new travel system! As your body starts to get used to your new level of activity, you may well find yourself automatically walking further and more briskly! From 6 weeks, why not give Sling Beat a try, you wear your baby so no child care to worry about and you can take the routines at your own pace with the variations supplied but remember, the more you put in, the more you get out! You could also carry on the fun at home by playing Just Dance on the Wii either while wearing baby or while baby is asleep.

Things you can do with your baby in tow are key, there are circuit training classes in Gloucester which advertise 'bring your baby', or why not get on your bike (Specialized do a tiny helmet suitable from a head circumference of 44cm). I have even been known to rollerblade behind the pushchair, which Honey thinks is hilarious, especially when we go down a hill at speed! Something we have just started doing is jogging (yes really, for those of you who know me, you will know how unlikely this sounds). It's hard at first but you soon get into it, we have been using the NHS' couch to 5K app which breaks you in gently and talks you through intervals of jogging and walking, as well as giving you advice on recovery and next steps. The best thing about this, is that Honey can come too, I try to go out at nap time so that she sleeps through most of the run and sometimes even long enough for a quick shower afterwards (using 2 in one products like Nivea in shower moisturiser to speed things up)! If it's not nap time, then she happily flirts and smiles with passers by and laughs at the ducks (we run through Pitville Park so ducks are not as random as they sound)!

Honey wears... Sock ons by

Photo © Nick Ashton

Photo courtesy of Mini Moments

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