by Helena Collins
The joy of motherhood can often be accompanied with stress about getting back in to your skinny jeans and finding the time to exercise. It is important to create a pattern early on in your life as a Mom to remember that taking care of yourself is paramount to taking care of your new little bundle of joy. A key to this is spending time each day on yourself, but this does not mean that you leave Junior behind! Setting up time each day that you work on yourself with your tiny tyke will set up a positive pattern of activity early on for both of you.
Grab Your Stroller and Walk!
The best place to start when you want to workout with your baby: a daily walk! Walking increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and reduces stress, a much needed addition to any new parent’s life. This also gets your baby used to being in a stroller and can create a habit that you both look forward to. On rainy days, go to the mall or a big store and walk every aisle – you probably need diapers anyway.
Once you have started the pattern of activity, adding more is easier! Don’t worry about getting to the gym, lie your baby down on a blanket and join him/her right on the floor for this simple-to-follow workout with your baby designed to get the important muscles back in shape quickly. Only do these exercises after you receive clearance from your OB!
For abdominal work, try some Frog Crunches, (I call them this because you end up resembling a frog on its back). Lie on your back with your feet together and your knees out to the sides. Curl the hips up towards your belly button while lifting your upper body up off the floor; focus on the ribs and the hips moving. Do not pull on your neck, look straight up. Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale. This will reconnect your mind to your belly muscles and shrink it in no time. Start with 10 reps with a five-second hold and work up to three sets. You can sit your baby on your belly once you have the hang of this for an added bonus.
Scoopy Butt Lifts
Begin on your back with knees bent up to the ceiling and your feet hip width apart. Contract your glutes (butt muscles) to lift your hips in a scooping motion off of the floor, (the key is to focus on squeezing your butt, not on just lifting). To up the ante, grab that bundle of joy and place him/her right on top of your hips, a bouncy ride for them and a “hott butt” for you. Put on a fun song and do this for the entire song!
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by Helena Collins
Side Leg Lifts
Move onto your side and place your baby in front of you; you can grab his/her hand or leg and move while you move so he/she is engaged. Bend your knees at 45 degrees in front of you, extend your top leg straight and turn your knee towards the floor. This step is essential in order to isolate the correct muscle and shrink your hips back to size. Lift your leg from the floor to hip height ten times and then hold at hip height and pulse ten times; lift two inches higher and repeat the pulse and then one more time two inches higher and pulse. If you do this correctly, your hips will be on fire! If they are not, you are not turning your knee down enough but don’t worry, you will get it!
Finally we end by flipping on to the stomach with your arms extended overhead, like the supermom that you are (think about the position the superhero in tights flies in), and lift just your arms. Work on keeping your elbows straight. This looks easy but it can be tough! Do 15 reps and repeat with your arms at 45 degrees and then straight out to the side. This simple move will tone your back and keep it healthy and strong for cuddles, breast feeding and carrying. While you do this, have your baby practice tummy time by laying in front of you so he/she can focus on your eyes while you exercise.
Incorporating these few moves into your daily routine early on will start you on the path towards balance and ultimate happiness in both of your lives as you learn to workout with your baby. No need to sacrifice time with your little one or the body of your dreams!
Helena Collins has spent the last 35 years in the health, fitness and athletic community and does not own a pair of sneakers. The creator of Life in Synergy®, the Synergistics Fitness Method® and the best-selling book, Nutritional Alignment®, is committed to finding the smartest and fastest ways to achieve total health; physical, mental and spiritual, and making herself and everyone she knows slammin' hott! For information on classes, visit lifeinsynergy.com.