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Fitting Exercise into New Parenthood

Exercise with your baby.

New parenthood does not mean giving up exercise.

Becoming a parent does not mean forgoing exercise forever. Maintaining a good fitness routine is important for mood, health, and general well being. It provides an outlet, during the stressful but wonderful moments of new mother and fatherhood. In fact, getting some exercise time in everyday probably makes you a better parent.

Often the parent that is primarily tasked with caring for the new baby lets their health go to the wayside, because they believe it is impossible to maintain a good routine with baby in tow. However, taking care of a baby does not mean automatically forsaking all your favorite serotonin-raising physical activities. Even with your baby by your side, it is possible to get a good workout if you are willing to make a few sacrifices and get creative.

For example, jogging can still take place with the use of a baby-safe jogging stroller. Some jogging strollers have the added benefit of doubling as a bike trailer, giving parents the opportunity to choose between biking or jogging, with baby, using only one specialized type of baby gear. There are even double and triple jogging strollers for the parents of multiples.

In big cities, parents can look into group exercise classes that are primarily for families. These classes include things like family yoga, mommy and me aerobics, and parent-child swim. Many hospitals offer special postpartum exercise classes that include baby as well. These classes are specially designed to address the issues of most concern to new mothers and gently reintroduce a routine, even for mothers who had to undergo an operative delivery.

Parents who like to hike or walk can do so easily, using a baby carrier. Just about any wrap, sling, or soft-structured carrier will work for most leisurely strolls. Parents of older children or who want to do some heavy-duty hiking may need to invest in a steel-structured carrier designed specifically for all-terrain hiking. Not only is wearing your baby good for bonding, it adds a little bit of additional resistance during workout routines.

Most forms of exercise can be altered to include new babies in one way or another, it is just a matter of finding your groove. For parents who want to get some time to themselves, many gyms, especially family-oriented versions like those ran by the YMCA feature short-term childcare as part of the monthly fee. Parents can leave their children in the hands of capable childcare professionals while they lift weights or participate in a variety of group exercise classes.