Workout Tips For New Moms
Parent-baby yoga provides you with another opportunity to bond with your baby. (Photo: istock.com/HannesEichinger)
Diapers, feedings, hormonal changes, and tears have become your new normal, and exercise is the last thing on a new mom-brain. So it's no surprise that it can be a huge challenge to navigate when and how to get back to working out. Even with all of the chaos, this may actually be the best time to start exercising. Not only will it help you lose weight, it might also save your sanity. Regular workouts can bring peace to your day and fitness to your body. If you're desperate for fitness but can't seem to find the time, all you need is some planning and a little creativity.
Here are some tips to help you begin an exercise program and get back in shape.
Invest in a jogging stroller or a "kid trailer" for your bike. When you're pushing or pulling one of these, you're sure to get a good workout—your kids will enjoy it too!
Strap baby to you in a baby carrier. If your baby is too young to feel comfortable in a stroller, you can still exercise together. There are many comfortable baby carriers on the market, including slings, front carriers, and backpacks. Adding 10-20 pounds to your frame for a walk will boost calorie burn, helping you shed those extra pounds. And babies love to be held close to you; in fact, studies show that touching enhances brain development in infants, so as you get fitter, baby gets smarter!
Join a gym with child-care. Whether you don't enjoy the great outdoors, or you live in a climate with blustery winters or lots of rain, outdoor exercise with the kids is not always an option. On-site childcare facilities offer convenience and the peace of mind that if your child needs you, you're only an intercom page away.
Sign up for parent-baby yoga classes. If these are offered in your area, parent-baby yoga classes can help you build strength and stamina, reduce stress, and provide you another opportunity to bond with your child.
Walk with the stroller. Many new moms realize their infants love to sleep in the car. For many babies, a walk around the block in the stroller has the same calming effect. Try to make a daily routine walk with the stroller around your neighborhood. The fresh air and natural light will also help lift any baby blues you may have. If there are hills, be sure to take it slow the first few times you go out. While you are walking the floor with your child, why not do some squats? The up and down motion can be just as soothing as a side to side rocking, and the exercise will help firm your quads and glutes. It is not necessary to go all the way down if you don't feel secure. Even a half-squat engages your muscles and your sense of balance. You can put a hand on the crib or dresser for balance if needed. You can also squat while you wait for bottles to warm or while you fold laundry.
Jog stairs. If you live in a two-story home, you probably go up and down the stairs multiple times a day without your infant. On these occasions, hold onto the rail and jog up or down instead of walking. Not only does this raise your heart rate a little, it engages the muscles in your legs, feet and ankles. You can also use the stairs to do a few stretches while the baby naps.
Baby curls. Virtually every mother has a car seat that doubles as an infant carrier. When your baby is bundled inside, do a few curls. This will help beef up your shoulders and biceps, in addition to making your baby giggle! Your abdominal muscles are also used with this exercise, as they engage to help you balance.
Baby presses. Once you are comfortable handling your baby, many moms like to lie on their back and lift the baby overhead. Not only does this allow him or her to 'fly', its great exercise for the arms. Just don't try this one immediately after a feeding!
Getting your pre-baby figure back takes time. Be generous and gentle with yourself and work in some exercise when you can. You'll see results if your follow these easy tips and your baby will like them too!
Barbara is the owner of Train For the Game in Bellmore. She is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and people of all ages.