How to exercise with a baby in tow: Products that help

How to exercise with a baby in tow: Products that help

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There's no doubt, it's hard to squeeze exercise into your day when you're busy caring for a baby. But if you're looking forward to buttoning up your pre-pregnancy jeans again, you need to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week and keep your calories under control, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To stay motivated, join forces with other moms: You'll make some new friends and be more likely to stick with exercise over the long haul. Here are some other strategies and products that can help you care for your body as you care for your baby:

Exercising outdoor

Nothing makes you feel housebound quite like having a new baby. Sometimes you feel as though you spend all day just feeding and changing your baby and getting him to sleep.

What helps:

  • Front-pack. You really can get out of the house almost right away with your baby in a front pack. Unless you had a c-section or other complication, your health practitioner will probably say you can venture out as soon as you feel up to it.A front pack keeps your baby snuggled close to you and soothes him when he's fussy – while you walk off some of that pregnancy weight. Keep your baby facing you in the early months, then turn him out to face the world when his neck is strong enough to support his head. Don't jog or run with a baby in a carrier.
  • Jogging stroller. These strollers originally designed for runners are also popular with people who walk for exercise. Extra-big tires make jogging strollers exceptionally easy to push, and the ride smooth and comfortable for your baby.

    Most are best for babies 6 months and older because the seats don't recline, but a few are designed to lie almost flat for infants.

    Jogging strollers can go almost anywhere, including places that regular strollers can't, such as dirt trails and the beach. But they're longer than regular strollers and don't turn as easily in narrow indoor spaces.

  • Backpack. If you like to hike for exercise, you'll love using a baby backpack. But it's not just for hikers.

    Carrying the weight of your baby in a backpack as you go about your daily errands helps you burn calories, too. And if your baby loves being up at grown-up eye level, as many babies do, it'll keep him content while you're on the move.

    Baby backpacks typically feature lightweight frames and hip straps that keep the pack secure without putting too much weight on your lower back. Your baby will be ready to ride on your back when he can sit unsupported, usually around 6 to 8 months – just when he may be getting too heavy for you to carry comfortably in a front pack.

  • Walking shoes. Take the advice of walking guru Mark Fenton, author of Walking Through Pregnancy, and look for shoes that bend easily through the ball of the foot but are fairly firm and won't bend easily through the arch. Choose a low-heeled shoe, and stay away from high-tops unless they're specifically designed for walking because they can irritate the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.

Tip: Put your child into the stroller just before nap time and get going. By the time you get home, your child will probably be asleep and you'll have had your outdoor exercise for the day.

Getting a cardio workout at home

One way to lose pregnancy pounds is to get your heart pumping with cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise. Health clubs usually offer cardio classes – but moms have so much to juggle, it can be tough to stick to a gym's schedule.

Fortunately, you can get a great aerobic workout at home, day or night, while your baby sleeps or watches from a safe distance.

What helps:

  • Home exercise machines. With a home version of a treadmill, stationary bike, or similar machine right there in your living room, you can exercise while listening to music or watching your favorite television show.

    If you've never exercised on a machine before, and if you can grab a few hours away from your baby, consider buying a weeklong pass at a local gym (or asking for a free one) and trying out the different machines before you buy one.

    You might think the elliptical trainer looks like fun until you try it. Or you may think you'll love riding a bike until you ride one that doesn't go anywhere. You don't want to buy a piece of exercise equipment only to have it become a place to hang your clothes.

  • Exercise videos. There are tons of reasonably priced and free workout videos online, devoted to such diverse activities as yoga, kickboxing, salsa dancing, and low-impact step aerobics. You could do a different workout in your own living room every day for a year – and all when it's convenient for you and your baby.

    When it comes to choosing a home program, find one that's appropriate for you. If you're an active person who runs every day, you'll want an exercise routine that's more of a challenge. But if you're just starting out, find a program for beginners rather than jump into something designed for more advanced exercisers. You'll be less likely to get injured if you start slowly, and you won't get frustrated by unfamiliar moves.

Tip: If you like the idea of an exercise machine but don't have the money or space for one, try jumping or jogging on a mini-trampoline. They're lightweight and inexpensive (less than $60), and they can be tucked away in a closet or under the bed in between exercise sessions. A mini-stepper (less than $50) is another space-saving workout machine that won't break your budget. You can also easily find used exercise machines online for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Toning your tummy

Yep, your abs took a beating during pregnancy. And while they may never look exactly the way they used to, you can do a lot to tone them.

Eating a sensible low-fat diet will also help you show off the muscle in your middle. Breastfeeding will help you shed the extra pounds you put on during your pregnancy. And drinking lots of water will improve your metabolism and help with weight loss.

What helps:

  • Pilates DVD or book. Pilates is a system of movement and exercises developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, a German physical therapist. Today the term is used to describe a variety of exercises that help develop a strong core (the muscles in the abdomen and back).

    Pilates moves focus on pelvic stability and abdominal control. One of the benefits of this form of exercise is that it helps you develop longer, leaner muscles in the core region, which can help reduce the postpartum pooch.

  • Mat to lie on for crunches. * Use a mat to do abdominal crunches (targeting your abdominal muscles).

    Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head so that your thumbs are behind your ears. Don't lace your fingers together.

    Hold your elbows out to the sides but rounded slightly in. Tilt your chin slightly so that there's a few inches of space between your chin and your chest.

    Gently pull your abdominals in. Curl up and forward so that your head, neck, and shoulder blades lift off the floor.

    Hold for a moment at the top of the movement, then lower slowly back down. Repeat ten to 15 times. Rest for one minute and complete another set. (A set is one group of a single exercise.)

  • Ab workout devices. There's no research suggesting that an Ab Roller or a similar training device makes abdominal exercises more effective. But if you work out more diligently because it makes the exercises more comfortable for you, then it's worth the investment.

Tip: If you can't fit exercising in during nap time (or if that's your well-deserved nap time, too), just put on some fun music and set your baby nearby in a bouncy chair, an exercise saucer, or another safe place while you get moving. Watching Mommy work out can be very entertaining.

Toning your arm and leg muscles

Motherhood requires muscle! Hauling that car seat in and out of the car might not seem like such a big deal at first, but when your baby weighs 15 or 20 pounds, you'll be glad you have the muscle to maneuver that seat.

If you've never done any strength training before, now is the perfect time to start. Keep a few basic pieces of equipment in your family room, and you can build muscle while you watch television. In fact, a commercial break is the perfect amount of time to do a set of strength-building exercises.

What helps:

Keep your abdominal muscles tight and avoid jerky movements whenever you do strength training at home. Resistance training may include a variety of inexpensive equipment, such as:

  • Hand weights. For example, strengthen your upper arms with bicep curls.*

    Hold a weight in each hand (start with a light weight, 2 pounds for example, and increase the amount of weight as you get stronger). Stand with your feet as wide apart as your hips.

    Let your arms hang at your sides, palms toward your body. Pull in your abdominal muscles. Stand tall with knees relaxed.

    Bend your right arm up so your hand touches your shoulder, twisting your palm as you go so that it faces the front of your shoulder at the top of the movement. Slowly lower the weight back down and then repeat with your left arm. Continue alternating until you've done eight to ten on each side.

  • Resistance bands. These stretchy bands can be used with exercises such as squats, which strengthen your thighs and buttocks.**

    Stand with feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Place the stretch band under the arches of both feet, holding the ends comfortably in each hand. Keep your shoulders square and straight. Look at a point slightly higher than your head and contract your abdominal muscles to maintain proper posture.

    Next, bend your knees until your upper legs are just above parallel in relation to the floor. Keep your heels down, your body weight over the ankles, and your abdominals tight with your low back in a natural arch. Make sure you can see your toes as you bend your knees.

    Return to starting position and repeat eight to ten times.

  • Physio ball. A physio ball offers an alternative approach to push-ups, which strengthen your shoulders and chest. **

    Roll forward, placing your body weight on your hands until the ball rests under your shins. Your body should be extended in a straight line from the ball.

    Next, lower your upper body toward the floor, bending at the elbows to perform push-ups. Keep your abdominal muscles tight. Keep your body tight and straight from shoulders to toes.

    Return to start position. Repeat eight to ten times and do three sets

Tip: If you'd rather work out at a gym, try to find one with a childcare program. Then you can drop off your baby while you swim, use the weight machines, or take a class – and even meet other moms.

Easing your sore back

During your first trimester, hormonal changes contributed to one of the biggest pregnancy complaints: back pain. Then, as your belly grew, your shifting center of gravity was to blame. But now that you've had your baby, if your back still hurts you may be wondering why.

When your ab strength returns, chances are your back will feel better. Breastfeeding can also contribute to back pain, as can carrying a baby around all day.

Maintaining good posture and strengthening your abdominal muscles will go a long way toward alleviating back pain. Also gentle back stretches can help ease the discomfort.

What helps:

  • Exercise mat for stretching. Get on a mat and target your lower back, butt, and outer thighs with a pretzel stretch.*

    Lie on your back and bend your knees. Lift your legs up so that your knees are directly over your hips and your calves are parallel to the floor.

    Cross your left ankle over the front of your right thigh. Clasp both hands around the back of your right thigh and pull back with gentle, steady pressure. As you hold this position, you should feel the stretch through your left buttock and outer hip and through the center of your lower back.

    Repeat on the other side.

Tip: If your house has stairs, think of every time you go up or down as a chance to tone your body. Run up and down (carefully) instead of walking. Or just go upstairs and down several times whenever you have five extra minutes.

* Exercise courtesy of Weight Training for Dummies, by Liz Neporent and Suzanne Schlosberg
** Exercise courtesy of the American Council on Exercise

Watch the video: Stretching and Exercising Song + More Nursery Rhymes u0026 Kids Songs - CoComelon (June 2022).


  1. Ravin

    Agree, your idea is simply excellent

  2. Omran

    Will there be a sequel?

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