My biggest surprise in the whole parenting game wasn’t the sleepless nights or juggling demands of work and baby. It was simply how physically demanding it is. Lugging heavy strollers and car seats around is nothing compared to picking up a baby or toddler all day every day. I seriously credit the all-day up and down squatting and bicep work as part of the reason I got back to my pre-baby weight. I’ve long considered my now 25-or-so-pound daughter a serious part of my strength training, and I’ve finally got the research to back it up.
This article says that moms who lug a 22+ pound baby around all day are doing the equivalent of a weight session in the gym, and I totally believe it. The study found that mothers of 9-month-olds typically lift their kiddos a whopping 90 times a day. Any mom who has a child that just wants to be held knows that that number is entirely reasonable. And when the child gets slightly older, your weight workout only increases—especially at dinner time when you desperately need both hands free but your kiddo has other ideas.
Unfortunately, the study also found that new moms also spend less time on health and fitness compared to full-time workers. So while taking care of your child is definitely a workout, it’s no substitute for a good heart-pumping cardio session. But if you need to take a day off from working out, just know that you’re never really getting a day off from weights!
Did the physical demands of parenthood surprise you? —Erin