Embrace the chilly weather and get out and get fit… all with bubba in tow!
New parent? Or suddenly in charge of two, three or more little people? Chances are you’re wondering where the hell your time is going, with not enough hours in the day to even get ordinary things done. If you’re at the stage where you can’t remember the last time you finished a fresh cup of tea or showered without an audience, then finding time to exercise will seem like a pipe dream. Looking after yourself – both mind and body – is an important part of parenting, but it can seem impossible to find the time. So for all of that have getting fit in your New Year’s resolutions, Sassy Mama has put together a list of ways to get out and get in shape – with your baby:
From the Caribbean Coast to Central, dotted around the city are groups of women being put through their paces by coach Dora. She puts her TRX suspension straps up in parks and children’s playgrounds, as well as indoors, and has put together sets that work the glutes and core. It’s an incredibly satisfying workout and it’s lovely to see and hear your baby chuckle away as you bend down or swing round with them tucked safely up against you. Dora will check your baby is secured well and you are using the right carrier in the right way.
For those committed to getting in shape, or trying to achieve long term fitness goals, you know… running a marathon, competing in a triathlon, or just seeing your toes again, then Dora, who built up her career at Pure Fitness, recommends booking in for a Wellness Check with her at Cosman Health Group. During these sessions, she and her colleague Dr Cosman, can assess potential issues with your body – spine, joints, muscles – that might be affecting your ability to get in shape and get strong. This is particularly useful for people worried they may have complications from surgery or pregnancy such as diastasis recti.
Okay, so this one doesn’t actually involve your baby, but these guys actively encourage you to get out and bring your baby down in the stroller. The workouts are usually outside so if you are lucky, baby will fall asleep as you walk to the class, snooze while you sweat your way through it, and wake up in time for you both to take a bath together at home. And if little darling starts wailing mid-way through a set of sit-ups – you have the perfect excuse to catch your breath. The class aims to improve cardiovascular fitness, functional strength, flexibility, balance and core stability. Often there’s a group coffee at the end of the class too. Check in with the organisers to see which classes they feel are suitable for you to attend with bubba.
Taking part in this class almost feels like a throwback to your pre-parent life. It’s the kind of activity you might have taken up with a gang of girlfriends back when nights were not dictated by endless readings of “Guess How Much I Love You” and “The Gruffalo”. Get a group together and get your groove on. If your baby is bigger or heavier, the studio is a nice place for them to safely explore while you get your groove on. Owner May Jen Tiller explains: “Bellydancing is a natural, organic way to move. Our movements include the baby, and our body posture incorporates the presence of the baby.” A bonus for tired mamas is that sometimes the little ones feel really calm and fall asleep to the hypnotic sound and movement.
This is a win-win. Fun classes for your baby and an inadvertent workout for you. It may come as a surprise but leaping along to different rhythms, sounds and tones, lifting and turning your baby, and generally bouncing about to music is a great way to burn off calories. Plus most it is run by a Disney princess and kids adore the classes. Bonus parenting points for you.
Walk! Use Hong Kong’s many hills and steps as your gym. It’s great for the body and mind, and may soothe restless or cranky little ones. This activity is good while the weather is a bit cooler – offering a chance to get out and wander about with bubba, potentially make new friends, and generally just enjoy being out of the high rise. Join one of the monthly walks organised by Stroll in Hong Kong. From Happy Valley and Kowloon Waterfront to Trio Beach and Inspiration Lake, these trips always go at an easy pace and usually end or include time for coffee and cake.
Instructor Rosie has a ballet and jazz background so this influences the dance classes. There is barre work for strength and toning, but there is also movement and singing to entertain the babies. This is a fun way to meet other parents and do something that gets your endorphins going but also makes the little ones happy. She says: “I try to incorporate a good aerobic warm-up to get the blood flowing and the babies happy and our brains to switch off babies for a moment and work on coordination and timing. I like to end the class with a bit of Pilates/yoga-inspired core work and stretching. This 15-20 minute mat time is a great opportunity to bond with your baby or let them have some tummy time or go for a crawl around. The last five minutes of class is for the babies to interact with each other.” There is also a circuit class held outdoors, which means as the babies get bigger – and are hard to exercise with in a carrier – you can still work out with them. Despite the title – dad’s are very welcome.
If you want to get toned and work out all those knots, mamas, get from hunching over to breast or bottle feed, or stretch out after heaving your ever-growing bundle of joy around town, then a bit of mum and baby yoga might be the answer. It’s nice gentle activity to do together and depending on how restless your baby is, quite relaxing. The Yoga Room in Sheung Wan offer a free trial so head down and test it out to see if it suits.