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How to keep exercising when you’re a parent – and feel better for it!

Parents exercising in park with baby in a pramPrior to becoming a parent exercise may have simply just been part of your routine, no need to plan for it, it just simply happened, it was easy.

When a new baby comes along your old routine often does a back flip and almost becomes unrecognisable.

Despite exercise being a health promoting activity and one of the most effective means to decrease risk of chronic disease, its often the first to go and only life-sustaining activities are given a look in!

If it’s been a while since you thought about exercise, here are some of its top benefits:

  • Improves sleep by promoting transition to deeper sleep stages
  • Helps to keep blood sugar and appetite levels normal
  • Assists achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition, including lean muscle mass and reduced fat mass
  • Boosts feelings of overall wellbeing and emotional health
  • Has an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect and therefore boasts anti-aging properties!
  • Assists to maintain a healthy immune system, essential when parent duties are in order!

With a recap of the health benefits of exercise under your belt, you will soon learn, perhaps you shouldn’t let it fall by the wayside so easily.

It is possible to incorporate exercise into your routine while being a new parent. It just takes the right equipment, a little creativity and some flexibility.

Balance can be hard to achieve as a parent and whilst the desire to exercise is there, sometimes we can get stuck in a time poor rut. Here are some tips to help find more balance and find the time to make exercise part of your routine …

5 ways to make time for exercise when you’re a new parent

  • Be kind to yourself and make peace with the importance of “me time” daily – let go of guilt and seek support
  • Wake up 30 minutes before bub and use this time as ‘me time,’ avoid checking emails or looking at social media, take time out for you!
  • Set aside a day each month to cook large batches of nutritious food which can be portioned and frozen, this will be a time saver overall
  • Each week roast a large batch of vegetables and store in the fridge, when lunch times rolls around you already have a base for your meals, you can make a simple salad using the vegetables or toss into a wrap with feta cheese, eggs and rocket leaves
  • Revaluate whether you are using your time wisely, are you spending longer on certain activities than you would like? Are you sitting longer in traffic then you need to? Do a stocktake of your time, you might be surprised and small changes can make the world of difference!

Whilst the thought of finding time to exercise might be difficult to swallow at this stage, I guarantee you will feel better for it! And bub will have some fun too!


Booth, F et al 2014, ‘Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic disease,’ Compr Physiol, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1143-1211.

Kishi, A et al 2013, ‘The effects of exercise on dynamic sleep morphology in healthy controls and patients with chronic fatigue syndrome,’ Physiological Reports, Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. e00152.

Roberts, C et al 2014, ‘Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance: Underlying Causes and Modifications by Exercise Training,’ Compr Physiol, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1-58.

Teixeira de Lemons, E at al 2012, ‘Regular Physical Exercise as a Strategy to Improve Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Status: Benefits in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Oxid Med Cell Longev, Vol. 2012.

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