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Creating Time for Movement

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Movement & Motherhood

By: Kristin Colsky Gavin   |  August 3, 2023

It is hard to understand what busy really means until we become parents. It does not matter what our particular circumstance is or what we have on our plate, it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves. We must creatively find ways to make time to care for ourselves in addition to our families. Sometimes it will look like alone time and sometimes it will not, but any kind of movement is better than nothing. If moms, and new moms in particular, can find time for exercise, it can contribute significantly to our physical as well as mental health. We can show up for our partners, children, friends, and colleagues as the most present, patient, happy, and inspired version of ourselves. Moreover, balancing movement with rest in the best way that we can will support us optimally in our busy lives.

Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

1. Play with your little one. This may sound obvious, but if your child is mobile, you can get a lot of movement in just by chasing after your little one. You can run around at the playground or field, play sports with your child, or have a little dance party in your home. Not only will you be getting some much-needed movement in for yourself and for your child, but also you will be giving your child attention and engagement.

2. Plan active activities as a family. If you are trying to figure out what to do on the weekend (if yours is not stacked with activities already, that is), you could go for a stroller walk and explore a different town, place your baby in a carrier or backpack and go for a hike, or go for a bike ride together. If you have a small baby, this can be a great way to connect with your partner as well, catching up as you hike. If you have a toddler or older child, you will all benefit not just from the movement but also from the connection you foster as a family. Furthermore, outdoor family activities in the summer have the added benefits of fresh air and sunshine.  

3. Do an online workout during nap time. If you are a new mom at home with an infant or toddler, try an online workout class like Pilates, yoga, or barre that you can do from home during nap time. I recommend doing this if you feel like you have the particular experience, fitness level, and body awareness to follow along well without the support of a teacher present. 

4. Enlist the help of a professional. Alternatively, if you feel that you would be better off with the support and instruction of a professional, an in-person class or private session might be a better fit. Having something concrete on the schedule and being accountable to someone else can also help you stay committed to a routine. Enlist the help of family members or caregivers so that you can make it to your sessions. You could also exercise somewhere that offers childcare while you work out. 

5. Exercise with baby. Find a mommy-and-me class where you can get a little movement in while bonding with your new baby. Or, if you feel confident exercising without a trainer, there are basic moves that you can do while holding your baby, such as squats or lunges. A baby can even serve as a weight for some extra resistance as you smile and laugh with your little one!

6. Get up before the kids get up. This can be tough, depending on when your child wakes for the day, and sometimes it is definitely more advisable to prioritize sleep. However, if you are able to get up just 30 minutes earlier, it can make a huge difference to have that time for yourself. It can allow you to start the day in a more peaceful, calmer, slower way. Beginning the day with exercise and that little bit of time just for you will also set you up to have more motivation, more energy, and more positivity throughout the rest of your day. 

Whatever method you choose, it can be so helpful to rethink what it means to get a workout in. Before having kids you may have had an hour or more to exercise each day, and now that might seem unimaginable. But just 30, 20, even 10 minutes a day of solid time just for you to focus on your thoughts, your body, and your breath can be enough to build strength, support your mental health, and nourish your soul.

Kristin Colsky Gavin is a native of Sausalito and lives there now with her husband, John, and her two-year-old son, William. She is a UC Berkeley graduate and Pilates instructor with ten years of experience and her own business, Kristin Gavin Pilates. Kristin has worked with all kinds of bodies, ages, and fitness levels but has a particular passion for working with pregnant and postpartum clients. She is also studying to consult on nutrition for pregnancy, postpartum, and babies. Contact her at Website coming soon!

When not practicing or teaching Pilates, Kristin can be found swimming, practicing yoga, hiking the trails of Marin, cooking, writing, studying languages, traveling near and far, and spending time with her family. She started open water swimming several years ago and has completed the Alcatraz to San Francisco swim three times.

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