15/08/2014 12:31 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Get Fit While Your Baby's Sleeping

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It can seem well nigh impossible to make time for a workout when you're at home with babies and toddlers, but it's really worth making the effort.

Apart from the joy of getting back into your pre-baby jeans (or at least working towards it), there are all the wellbeing benefits. Being fit means you're working your muscles, heart and lungs so you can fight off viruses and have more energy to cope with the demands of your young family.

Best of all you feel good about yourself because of all those endorphins - 'happy hormones' - you're releasing!

Petra Thornton, a personal trainer who specializes in training with mums in their own homes, says: "If you are at home with children you might have to be more creative and use your time effectively, doing your workout during the children's favourite TV programme or bath time."

And don't give up if you can't make time for long workouts - the most important thing is to let exercise become part of your day to day routine.


"Sometimes we think we have to start training for longish sessions 3-4 times a week, but it's better to get the heart rate up for 5-10 mins a day and recover and feel good for the rest of the time than doing a hard 1h session and struggling to recover.


"When your body knows what it's doing increase the doses and keep doing so until you have reached your goal," says Petra.

Here are a few easy ways to get fit when you have a young family.

Yoga on your laptop

If you love yoga but getting to classes has become impossible a company called Yoogaia ( has just launched live interactive internet yoga classes in the UK.

Massively popular in Finland where the company is based, especially with mums who can't get to yoga classes, they are brilliant - you just sign up and access the class via your laptop while the baby is (hopefully) asleep next door!

During the class the instructor can see how you're doing and correct your posture, so it's so much better than a recorded class. There's a limited number of classes in English right now, but from September there will be a large number of them to choose from at all levels, and there are plans to add core, pilates and kettle bell classes too. Classes start at 4.99€ for a single class, 19.99€ a month.

Buggy pushing fitness

The ultimate in multitasking, pushchair fitness classes let you work out while you're with your baby. Better still, they get you out of the house and meeting people, which can be crucial in those sometimes lonely first few months at home with a newborn.

At least 20 companies in the UK specialise in pushchair workouts, from Buggyfit to Strollercise and classes are usually a mixture of power-pushing and squats, step-ups and lunges, often using the baby buggy for support.

If you're power-pushing on your own start slowly, pushing with one arm then swapping to the other, and build up speed and intensity gradually.

It's vital to get checked out by your GP or midwife before taking this on to make sure you're ready, and to 'run' with you your baby needs to be able to support its head, ie, be over six months of age.

Home workouts

Advert break circuit for arms and bum (2-5mins)

1. When the ad break starts move your bottom to the end of the sofa. Now place your hands on the sofa, raise your bottom up and start "dipping" your body down vertically, using your back, arms and shoulders. Repeat 15 times

2. Next lie down on the floor, put your feet on the sofa and lift your bottom up to the ceiling. Using your back leg and glutes (bum) repeat 15 times.

3. Staying in this neutral position, put your hands behind your head. Without straining your neck gently lift your upper body, using your abdominals. Repeat 15 times.

4. When you have done the circuit repeat from the top until your programme is back on.
Do these during every single advert in one programme, every day, and you'll soon see a transformation in your arms and legs!

Brushing your teeth balance work (3-5mins)

While brushing your teeth put a towel under one foot. Put all the weight on the "non towel leg" and start sliding the "towel leg" out sideways 10-15 times, then swap over and repeat with the other leg. For this you are using your abdominals to keep your balance and also working legs and bottom.

Waiting for the bath to fill up workout (7-10mins)

1. Lie flat on the bathroom floor on a towel, both feet up in the air at a 90 degree angle from your knees (make sure your spine is in neutral, not arching).
2. Hands under head, lift your upper body up gently. Repeat 15 times.
3. Roll over to your side, making sure neck is comfortable. Lift top leg up and down and repeat 15 times.
4. Roll over onto your tummy, stretch your body out and start lifting one leg and the opposite arm, then drop, repeating 10 on each leg and arm.
5. Roll over to the other side and do the whole of point 3.

That's a full circuit. Repeat until your bath is ready.

With thanks to Petra Thornton at

* Remember to consult your doctor before attempting any of these moves, especially if you have recently given birth.

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