For many new moms, exercise tends to take a back seat to more pressing concerns--sleep, for instance! But you'll find you have renewed energy for yourself and your baby if you make time for even short bursts of exercise--10 minutes here and there for a quick workout is better than nothing, and it will do you a world of good.
The key is finding an activity that you enjoy and one that meshes with your schedule and your lifestyle. If you have fun with your exercise of choice, you'll find it easier to make it a necessity, not an option. For best results, exercise in some form for 30 minutes, five days per week.
It's totally OK to split that time into a number of quick workouts if you get interrupted or only have 10 minutes at a time to spare.
1. Go for a hike with your baby in a carrier or a backpack, whichever feels best on your neck and shoulders. Make sure your baby is well supported; a baby sling is fine for a quick workout such as a walk around the block, but not for a more rigorous session such as a hike through the hills.
2. Put your baby in the stroller and go for a walk. Once your baby is six months old, he or she is ready to be put in a jogging stroller that you can push while you go for a run.
3. Have your partner or a friend watch the baby for a half-hour. This will allow you to get out for a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy some precious time to yourself while your sneak in your workout.
4. Check out local health clubs or yoga studios, many of which offer postpartum exercise classes where babies are welcome. If a postpartum class isn't on the roster at your gym, hunt for a low-impact class that has a decent warm-up period--at least ten minutes--and one that also includes some stretching and resistance training for your muscles.
5. As long as it doesn't leave you too exhausted, get up about an hour before your friend or spouse leaves for work in the morning. Use the extra time to head to the gym or go for a walk to sneak in a quick workout.
6. Find another mom to watch your children while you exercise, and then swap the child-watching duties with her. If you both can commit to an hour or two, one can exercise while the other watches the kids.
7. Find a gym or YMCA near you that offers swimming or other lessons for young children. Head to the fitness area to workout while your kids are taking lessons.
8. Join your kids for a game of catch or tag. Playing with your kids is a good form of exercise.
9. Make active dates with your significant other or your friends. You'll get to socialize and fit your workout in at the same time.
10. Consider investing in some home-exercise equipment that you can use when your baby is napping or in bad weather. Sneak in your resistance training routine with dumbbells while your child is in the cradle or playpen nearby. Check out this quick workout you can do in your living room or bedroom with dumbbells.
11. Build a library of exercise videos. These can be a fun and convenient way to squeeze exercise into your day. Have a variety of selections on hand saved (YouTube has tons, or try The Home Bodies Fitness Show) including cardio/dance and muscle/strength workouts.
12. Perform a series of floor exercises like leg lifts, pushups from the knees, crunches, and squats while watching T.V. at night after the kids are in bed. Use a jump-rope for a quick workout that's also a challenging cardio session.
13. If your child is old enough to ride a bike or a tricycle, try jogging alongside while he pedals. You should find his pace about right for an easy jog.
FYI: If you're thinking of joining a fitness club that offers babysitting services, look for one that has:
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"Skip the gym...do the workout."
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