Exercise can make you feel like ‘you’ again – top 5 moves to do whilst baby is napping

If you have read my previous blogs, then you will know that I was very worried before I went off on maternity leave that I would lose my identity without my career. Regularly there are days when I need to remind myself who I am and reassure myself that I am more than just a feeding, highchair cleaning, nappy changing, baby brain nursery rhyme singer. One of the ways I do this is by doing exercise. Yes sounds silly I know, but honestly, it just reminds me that I am more than just a mummy and helps me see clearly again, no matter how foggy my brain feels. 

So if you are lucky enough to have a baby who naps, even just for 30 minutes, then try and give yourself a little bit of ‘you’ time and do a short work out. I know… you can probably think of more exciting things to do with that spare 30 minutes like having a bath or watching Netflix, but trust me here. The endorphins released during exercise will make you feel great and I promise you will feel more energised for the rest of the day and ready to deal with anything baby throws at you (literally!).

Exercise doesn’t need to be time consuming. I love doing a quick circuits session in my spare room for 20-30 minutes. One of the things my husband (ex-military bod and fitness fanatic) has taught me is how to get a decent workout in during a very short period of time.

Compound exercises like squats are widely considered the most beneficial exercises because they are functional movements that recruit multiple muscles groups in one go. As such I don’t need to waste time on isolating individual muscles as I can do something all-encompassing like a squat or deadlift.

This approach to training enable more muscles to be trained in a period of time, with more calories being burned for your efforts… and a better bum! This means I am much more efficient with my time which is a very precious commodity these days.

So with that in mind here are my top moves to do during a quick circuit session at home:

1) Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and go down into a deep squat. Keep your weight on your heels and remember the lower you go the better. This one is not about how many you do but your technique. Go slow on the way down (two seconds) and fast on the way up (one second). If you are feeling particularly energetic go into a jump squat.

2) Lunges: Any form of lunge is going to work here. I love a good curtsey lunge, where your back knee moves behind you in a curtsey like fashion or if I am feeling particularly energetic then I will do 20 jump lunges.

3) Planks: Start in a basic plank position and hold it for at least 30 seconds, ideally 60. Try to keep a flat back and pull in your tummy.

4) Mountain climbers: Make sure you are on a non-slip surface in the plank position on your hands. Drive each knee forward like you are trying to get it as far up between your hands, repeat as quickly as possible. Your front foot should touch the ground.

5) Deadlift: This exercise is best if you have some form of weight like a kettlebell or Olympic, bar but you could just as well do this holding your baby. The movement comes from your hips, not your knees. It’s like a horizontal thrust; your bum goes back as you sit back, then you fire your glutes forward as you stand up. I always think to myself whilst doing this, boobs out, bum out and chin up! Then you can’t go wrong.

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