Post-Natal Exercises: New Mom Workout Moves (To Do With Your Baby)
A month ago I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. Ever since we got home from the hospital I’ve been itching to get some exercising in (nothing too heavy just yet, some low impact workouts). So I found a way to incorporate my baby into my workouts and still make them effective.
Since my son is now a month old, figuring out how to calm him down from crying and make him happy has become part of mine and my husband’s daily routine. I worked out until I was 39 weeks pregnant (delivered at 41). The ultimate discovery … he LOVES when we do side squats holding him. I take full blame for that, considering I was doing much more than side squats while he was in my belly.
Here are a few ways to bond with your baby and still get a great workout in.
* Baby safety: When performing exercises in which your baby must hold his head up on his own, be sure he can do so without discomfort (usually starting at 3 to 4 months old).
* Mom prep: Before performing any exercise, roll your shoulders back and down and draw your navel toward your spine to protect your back. Inhale through your nose and expand your ribs. Exhale through your mouth, drawing your abdominal muscles in.
You can do this while holding your baby or with him in a front carrier that keeps him close to your body and supports his head. Just put on some music you love and dance, keeping your abs drawn in. For variety, try intervals of slow and moderately fast music to keep your heart rate elevated. (If your baby is in a carrier, be cautious when turning quickly and avoid bouncing.) Breathe deeply or sing out loud to monitor your exertion level; you should be able to speak without losing your breath.
You also can place your baby in a bouncy seat or swing and dance around him. Make your movements large and animated (reach above your head and stretch your arms out to the sides, for example) and maintain eye contact with him.
Note: Dancing provides a light cardiovascular workout that involves all the major muscle groups and improves balance and coordination. It’s also sure to elevate your mood, no matter how tired and stressed you might be.
CURL UP OR SIT-UP:
With your baby sitting on your waist, lie on the floor with your knees bent. Contract your abs and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor in 2 counts; lower in 3 counts. Exhale through your mouth as you curl up, drawing your abs up and in. Do 15 to 20 reps. Rest and play, then do 1 more set.
BABY OVER HEAD PRESS:
Sit cross-legged, holding your baby in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Straighten your arms upward without locking your elbows. Pause, then lower your baby to the starting position. Do 10 reps, rest and play, then do 2 more sets.
Note: Presses strengthen the upper and middle back, shoulders, triceps and biceps.
BABY BENCH PRESS:
Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent. Contract your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold your baby securely and bring him close to your chest. Pause, then lower your baby to the starting position. Do 10 reps, rest and play, then do 2 more sets.
PLIES AND WALKING LUNGES:
Place your baby in a front carrier (or hold him in front of you) making sure his head is well supported. Begin with 2 minutes of baby dancing to warm up, then alternate 1 minute of baby pliés with 1 minute of walking lunges. Alternate the combination 4 times for 4 minutes. To cool down, walk for 2 minutes, then take your baby out of the carrier and stretch for 2 minutes.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, turning feet out slightly. Keep your abs drawn in and bend your knees, lowering your hips and pressing your weight into the heels. Slowly straighten your legs and squeeze your buttocks to return to standing.
After you’ve tried this workout, try to increase the intensity of each exercise by adding more reps.
Good luck and stay fit!