Exercise Ideas for New Mommies

( [email protected] ) Dec 02, 2005 11:39 PM EST

This article was brought to you by Truestar Health: The World's Most Comprehensive Nutrition, Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle Resource

You’re a new mom and the last thing that’s on your mind right now is exercising. However, finding the “time” to exercise is important not only for your health and well-being, it’s also important to relieve stress and to secure some alone time for you.

Here are five tips to get you started on your exercise program.

Tip # 1

If you have an opportunity to get away for 30 to 60 minutes a day, this is ample time for you to start an exercise program at home or at your local fitness center.

The best approach is to start with a full body circuit training program using relatively light weight for 15 to 20 repetitions. Choose an exercise for every major muscle group and/or purchase a workout DVD you can perform in the comfort of your own home. You can also visit www.truestarhealth.com to receive your very own circuit training workout.

If you can’t start a program right away, slowly ease into one by going for long walks daily.

Tip # 2

Since a lot of your time is spent carrying the baby, it is important to emphasize core work or exercises that strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles. These exercises can be completed at home while the baby is sleeping or before you go to bed. Exercises for the abdomen such as abdominal crunches and reverse crunches and an exercise for the lower back such as the opposite arm/opposite leg will help relieve tension and strengthen the core area. Performing one to two sets for each exercise, two to three times per week for 15 to 30 repetitions is sufficient.

Tip # 3

Let’s be realistic. Do you find it difficult to exercise while your baby is sleeping or are you just too tired to workout once the baby falls asleep? Perhaps it’s one of the few opportunities available to catch up on some shut-eye yourself? If this is the case, the ideal plan would be to work out while your baby naps. If weather permits, all you need is a good stroller, a comfortable pair of shoes and you can participate in a challenging cardiovascular workout. Take the baby out for a walk with the stroller and exercise for 20 to 30 minutes non-stop. Walk with friends to create more of a social environment. If possible, choose a route that includes some hills to really challenge your heart and legs. Pushing a stroller is a great form of exercise and the added weight of the child will burn more calories.

Tip # 4

Purchase a suitable sling and carry your child in it while at home and when going for a walk. The added weight of the child will help you burn almost 50% more calories and is a great resistance training workout for the legs and core. You can walk up a flight of stairs, perform a set of squats at the top and walk down. You can also perform lunges or simply go for a walk outside

Tip # 5

Add some resistance training when walking with the stroller. When you go for a walk, stop every five or 10 minutes and perform a set of squats while keeping your hands on the stroller. You can perform these three or four times during a 30-minute walk. When you return home, you can keep the baby in the stroller and take five minutes to perform some hand-held dumbbell exercises or some exercises for the core and push-ups. Later, lift the baby from the stroller and practise lifting the child overhead, like performing a shoulder press. Have fun with it! The best workout is using your baby as resistance, the baby enjoys the ride and you can enjoy the workout benefits. Just make sure you are not throwing the baby in the air to soon after a feeding. End the workout with some stretching for the lower back, shoulders and leg muscles along with any other muscles that may be sore. Hey, if you have extra time, a nice warm bath is always a great way to wind down.

Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. When you’re ready, develop a workout that challenges your cardiovascular and muscular systems. Exercise will help you return to your pre-pregnancy body weight and will help you relax. If time is an issue, a quick and simple circuit training workout performed at home with some dumbbells is fast, safe and extremely effective. If you can’t get motivated to exercise at home, think about joining a fitness center in your neighbourhood and commit to working out three to four days a week. A 30-minute workout is all that is needed. If neither of these options works for you, try exercising with the baby. Get the stroller ready and push your way to a slimmer you. Happy trails!

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