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Fitting Fitness In
As a new mom it can be difficult to find the time to exercise. The rewards are worth it however. Finding the time to exercise can help you get your pre-baby body back, give you some well-deserved time for yourself, and improve your mood. Here are some ideas on how you can fit fitness in.
It may not require as much time as you think. Ideally you should aim for 150 minutes a week (21 minutes a day) of aerobic exercise. This can be accomplished in 10 minute episodes. In addition to the aerobic exercise, it would be beneficial to also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week. For more information, see my blog on Exercise Guidelines: http://http://tinyurl.com/4hynjc4
- Set up an area of the house to be your gym. You will need a Swiss Ball, 3, 5, 10, 15 pound dumbbells. If you can, purchase a treadmill, elliptical trainer or bike. A TV and DVD player are helpful.
- Exercise with your baby. See “Workout with Your Baby”
- Get a mother’s helper to come play with the baby while you are exercising at home
- Trade babysitting with friends. They might appreciate the time off so they can exercise.
- Exercise during your child’s nap time
- Collect some exercise videos to give you variety in your workouts or tune into exercise TV shows.
- As you do your cardio, watch TV or movies to help pass the time
- Join a group Stroller strides or Baby boot camp class
- Do an exercise program as you are walking the baby. Stroller Exercise Program: http://tinyurl.com/y874dp3
- Take your baby for a walk in a stroller or run with them in a baby jogger stroller. “Researchers found that exercise intensity and calorie burn were approximately 18 percent higher when walking with a stroller at 3 mph than when walking without a stroller. In fact, on average, test subjects burned 6.2 calories per minute while pushing a stroller at 3 mph”, according to a study done by the American Council on Exercise. Read the study and get an exercise program that you can do with a stroller: http://tinyurl.com/y874dp3
- Go biking with baby. Use a baby seat or trailer. Bicycle-towed trailers are preferred by the American Academy of Pediatrics for bike riding with children. See the American Academy of Pediatricians guidelines for bike safety: http://tinyurl.com/4q34zz7
- Getting together with a friend? Take a walk or an exercise class together
- Join a gym with a good child care program
- Take turns going to the gym with dad
- Involve the whole family in recreation. Its fun to hike, bike, canoe, ski, cross country ski, snow shoe together
Strength Workout with Your Baby
You can do these exercises while you spend quality playtime with your baby. If your doctor approves to start doing these exercises as early as six weeks after you’ve given birth. Make sure your baby is able to hold his head up on his own. This usually occurs starting at about age 6 weeks.
Tighten your abs while you exercise. Doing this protects your spine by adding stability from your abdominal muscles.
Warm-Up With the baby in the front pack either take a walk outside or go up and down stairs for five minutes.
Squats with Baby Wear a baby backpack across your front and with baby in place, put a chair behind you. Aiming for the chair behind you, slowly squat down and come back up.
Baby Chest Press Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold baby under him arms, your palms on him chest and your fingers wrapped around him torso. With baby lying on your chest, your elbows bent, gently raise him up in the air, straightening your arms without locking your elbows. Pause and then lower him to starting position.
Baby Overhead Press Sit holding your baby vertically in front of your chest, your arms bent. Lift him up overhead, straightening your arms. Pause; then lower and repeat. Do 10 reps. Alternate 1 set of baby bench presses with 1 set of baby overhead presses; rest, and then repeat 2 more times.
Dancing with Baby Put on your favorite dance music, hold your baby in your arms or use a secure front carrier, and dance for ten minutes.
Side Stepping Squat Hold your baby in your arms. Stand with feet hip width apart, shoulders back. Take a big step to the right, push your butt back, and keep your upper body upright as you bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Look down at your knees and make sure they are aligned over your toes. As you stand up bring your left foot to your right. Step the feet together and continue stepping to the right for 12 reps. Repeat on the left side.
Push-Ups Place your baby on the floor and get down on all fours so your face. Bend your elbows, lowering your torso toward baby in 2 counts. Straighten arms in 3 counts to starting position.
Bird Dog Lie baby on the floor. Kneel on all fours over your baby. Pull your belly button. Holding this, extend your right leg until it forms a straight line with your torso. Do this without rotating your hips. Hold this position for 10 seconds, return to the start position, and then extend the left leg. Repeat on both sides. Progress by holding longer and by adding repetitions. To make this exercise even more challenging, extend your left arm forward as you extend your right leg backward, and then extend your right arm and left leg together.
Plank Lie face down over the baby resting on your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight, your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending, contract your abdominals, and hold for as long as you can.
Plank with Leg Lift Lie face down over the baby resting on your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight, your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending, contract your abdominals, and hold for as long as you can. Slowly raise one leg 6 inches off the floor. Slowly lower your leg to the floor. Switch legs and repeat.
Baby Airplane Lay on the floor on your back, with legs raised and knees bent up toward your chest, place your baby across your ankles–straddling them. While holding baby’s forearms, gently bob your legs up and down. When you’re done bobbing baby, gently straighten out your legs and let baby slide down.
Baby Sumo Squats With the baby in the front pack, Place your feet wider than hip distance and turn your feet out slightly. Bend your legs, lowering your hips and pressing your body weight into the heels. Straighten your legs and squeeze your glutes to return to standing.
Calves With the baby in the front pack, find a wall you can hold on to or lean on. Keep your legs straight but don’t lock your knees. Then slowly rise up on your toes and come back down.
Baby Classic Bridge Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on floor with baby sitting on your torso. Hold onto him tightly and lift your hips as high as you can. Hold this for 8 seconds then slowly return to starting position. Progress this exercise by keeping your hips raised and level, slowly lift one foot approximately 6 inches, and then return foot to floor. Then lift opposite foot slowly as you begin “marching”. Make sure your hips remain level.