I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with exercise… actually that’s a bit generous… I suppose it’s more of a hate-it-but-do-it-so-I-feel-healthy-ish and don’t-become-the-size-of-a-house sort of relationship.
I’m the person who feels disgruntled all day in work knowing I not only have to get through the stress of the day, but also the sweat and pain of an exercise class before I can step back through my front door. I am also the person who, if I don’t go to the gym first thing on a Saturday to get it over with, I can’t fully enjoy my weekend knowing it’s still to come.
(To those of you who preach ‘do what you enjoy and it’ll never feel like exercise’, I do not like anything physical. Really. I was the girl at school who did anything to get out of P.E, inventing music lessons and hiding in the trees etc.)
Anyway, It became a two to three times a week habit and habits are good as they’re hard to break. So when I became pregnant I was split- half of me rejoiced that I now had an excuse not to exercise. The other half of me was wondering how I could keep at it- some weird fitness-related Stockholm Syndrome obviously!
So I became the chunky monkey galumphing at the back of Body Combat and, when that became too much, the one doing weighted squats unable to see my toes. I also started going to the wonderful Yogabirth with Lauren– working on my strength and flexibility. I yelped through the debilitating foot and leg cramps (the joys of pregnancy) and made the most of the end of session relaxation which was often accompanied by light snoring- though not mine I might add!
The NHS and others extol the benefits of exercising during pregnancy and I believe all this helped me in a cliched mind, body, soul kind of way. I do wonder how much it contributed to my straightforward pregnancy and birth and to quickly getting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes (though shoehorning in a looser mum tum; I’ve not been that lucky!).
So I’d got through the first challenge but what next? My fitness had naturally declined after eight weeks of pretty much sitting on the sofa with a baby on my knee and being within easy reach of the fridge. I was back doing Body Combat within a few months of having Harriet, but it was trying something new that actually made me enjoy exercise for the first time in my life.
A fellow new mum recommended a Movement & Bloom ‘Buggy Babies’ session run by the wonderfully motivating Natalie. Soon I was running, squatting and lunging along the Seacombe sea front in the spring sunshine with the impressive Liverpool skyline as the backdrop. I’ve since done it in all weathers but I always finish feeling ‘zen’, satisfyingly achy and having had a good chat with the other mums. The babies also get something out of it- fresh air and seeing their mums look daft, cue Harriet laughing at my red, sweaty face pushing her up the notorious Guinea Gap hill.
The next challenge is how to keep active when I go back to work. I can’t see how there can be enough time in the day for work and a baby, never mind keeping fit as well. It’s not necessarily about shifting my mum tum, but how I can best keep healthy and mentally sharp to give my all to Harriet, my job and everything inbetween. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
Find out more about Yogabirth With Lauren here.
Find out more about Movement & Bloom’s various pre-natal and post-natal classes here.
Photo courtesy of Movement & Bloom.