If you’re a new mom, chances are you have less time and energy than you’d like to exercise. Still, you’d like to get your pre-baby body back. As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way… even when it seems you have less time and more to do. These tips will help you get started.

Dare not to compare
Everyone knows a mom that seemingly bounced back into shape as soon as the baby was born. Remember, every body is different. Nurture an attitude of success (rather than a why bother attitude of defeat), and develop a plan that works with your body and schedule.

Adopt the ten minute rule
You have a full schedule. Add to that less sleep and even the most committed fitness buff is likely to let exercise fall by the wayside. Forget 30 or 60 minute workout sessions. Instead, fit in 10 or even 5 minutes wherever you can. Practice squats, lunges or high knees while you warm bottles or just after baby drops off to sleep.

Stay focused on the benefits
The benefits of exercise extend beyond how your body looks. Exercise also impacts how your body feels. Remind yourself that if you can find the time to work out and get your heart rate up, you will actually have more energy and get a mood boost, too. New moms are especially vulnerable to low mood and flagging energy. Exercise can help you feel more in control of how you feel.

Newborn healthy infant with momHave baby, will travel
Look for exercises or classes that include the baby; you’ll have fun together and boost your bond. For example:
• To give your abs a work out, sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flexed under a piece of heavy furniture. Place your baby in your lap facing you. Her head and back should be resting against your thighs. Be sure to hold her securely. Next, lean back a few inches until you feel your abs tighten. Hold this position for ten seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
• To give your back, shoulders and arms a work out, sit cross-legged, holding your baby in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Lift your arms to raise baby high into the air without locking your elbows. Pause before lowering your baby to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
• Sign up for a stroller friendly 5-k.

Be sure you get the all clear from your healthcare provider before you start your post-pregnancy exercise plan.

Activity counts
Maybe you can’t lace up and head out to your local baby and me class. Don’t despair; think in terms of what you can do. If you live in a walkable community can you load up the stroller and head to the corner store or park? Can you hold your baby in your arms and dance? Exercise is really about movement, so be creative when you think about ways to sneak more movement into your days.

Finally, find the right balance between realistic and hopeful. Look for things to love about the miracle of your body and its shifting shape. Carry yourself with confidence and, no matter whether you’re at your pre or post baby weight, your intrinsic beauty is sure to shine through.