Toddler Time

As children grow, just keeping up with them can be a workout in itself. Including your baby in your fitness routine can be a rewarding experience, and it can add some challenge to the workout. Most babies love to be pushed along in a stroller. They love the motion. The fresh air is good for them, and the sights and sounds are stimulating. That being true, use your baby as an excuse for taking long walks or even jogs rather than as an excuse not to exercise outdoors. Nowadays, sturdy jogging-strollers are built with three wheels and a heavy-duty design. They can be pushed on uneven side-walks or unpaved paths while walking or jogging. Regular strollers are sturdy and work well for walks along paved paths.

Even many health clubs accommodate mothers with small children. Some offer "mom-and-me" classes and feature exercises that include the baby. Not only do you not lose the precious time you like to spend with your child, these classes also will give you some ideas for at-home exercises that are good for you and fun for your child, too. Some health clubs and recreation centers offer child-care for infants while moms work out. Although you might not want to leave a small infant in child-care for too long, this break will give you the opportunity to take an aerobics class, to do some strength training, and to work on your abdominal muscles to firm them back up after being stretched from pregnancy.

If you need the motivation of an exercise buddy, the companionship and incentive of another mom to work out with is that much more helpful. If you're feeling the need for adult company, chances are there are other new mothers out there looking for the same thing. In addition to walks with other moms, you can plan picnics in the park and pool or beach get-togethers as your children grow. You also can take turns watching the kids. One of you can do some workouts at home while the other baby-sits and then trade places.

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