Finding some activities that are pleasurable, fun and enjoyable to do while burning some calories and building up those muscles is key. Exercising is like a relationship for life. You need to work on that, making sure it doesn’t get boring!
Involving your kids in the activities is a good way to do it. Kids like to imitate their parents, seeing them as role models. Living a healthy lifestyle will help them build their own active routines.
There are several ways to involve your kids, from power walking with a stroller, to playing sports, swimming, or simply long walks. Just be creative and enjoy the fun!
Power Walking with a Stroller:Walking at a fast pace with a stroller is a very good way to exercise. It helps you burn more calories by speeding up the metabolism while strengthening and toning the upper and lower leg and glutes muscles. You can also add several strength exercises with the help of the stroller. The idea is to have a full workout while enjoying the company of your kids.
You can start with about 30 minutes of exercise, and increase the length of your intervals as you improve your fitness. Exercising 5 times a week is ideal!
First you need to make sure your stroller is safe for your little one at a faster speed. You will also need comfortable clothes and good running shoes for yourself.
- Warm up for about 10 minutes by pushing the stroller as you walk.
- Stretch your legs and arms for about 5 minutes.
- Now speed up your walk, at a pace that is just slightly uncomfortable but enough to carry a conversation. Try to keep your pace for 20-30 minutes to start with.
- Find a safe place for a quick stop for the first set of strength exercises. Using the stroller handles, do 20 squats at a slow pace. Stand with about hip or shoulder-width apart. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, keeping the knees in line with the toes. Lower down as far as you can, but never lower than 90 degrees, and push into the heels to go back to starting position.
- Back to power walk for another 15 minutes.
- Find another safe place for a quick stop and lunges! Using the stroller handles, do 20 lunges at a slow pace. Stand in a split stance, with feet about 3 feet apart. You want both knees to be at about 90-degree angles at the bottom of the movement. Bend the knees and lower the back knee toward the floor, keeping the front heel down and the knee directly over the center of the foot. Keep the torso straight and abs in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
- Back to your power walk for another 10 minutes.
- Find a safe place and comfortable place for some abs (maybe back home). You can lie down next to the stroller and a routine of abs. Follow your doctor's instructions on types and quantity of post-partum crunches suitable for you.
- Finish with a good Stretch
For video illustration, click on the links below!
Stroller Exercise video I
Stroller Exercise video II
Perfect Accessory for Power Walk Moms
Pedometers are a great motivational tool to track steps as you walk your way through the day, and towards greater fitness. They are perfect for walking, and a great tool to help achieve a healthier, more active lifestyle. Most brands and models display the steps and minutes walked. Some models also calculate calories burned and the distance traveled.
Reducing or Eliminating the Mommy Tummy (Diastasis Recti)
Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area. In pregnant women, increased tension on the abdominal wall may lead to diastasis recti. It is commonly seen in women who have multiple pregnancies, because the muscles have been stretched many times.
Before starting your ab workout, you want to identify whether you have Diastasis Recti. It is very easy to find out. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. With your fingers pointing down, hold your fingers on your belly around the navel area. Press your fingers down as you lift your head, at your bellybottom, three inches above, and three inches below. That separation between the two sides of the ab muscle is the Diastasis. Click on the link below for a illustrative video.
Video how to identify your Diastasis Recti
Do not do any cruches after pregnancy, which can make abdominal separation worse. First you need to strengthen your transverse abdominis to reduce or eliminate your ab muscle separation. The transverse compresses internal organs, flattening the abdominal wall (see illustration below). It will serve as a foundations for a more complete ab work.
It is never too late to eliminate or reduce Diastasis Recti. It can be done even several years after your pregnancy.
Knowing the level of your Diastasis Recti is key to choose the ideal ab program for you. Good ways to exercise your transversal are side planks , and keeping a great posture all day long. Below you will find a link to some effective transverse and oblique exercises, from recognized physical therapists. Have a great workout!
Pregnancy and Postpartum Supporting BeltsThe elastic belts developed specifically for pregnancy (and postpartum) provide incredible support. I used the belts during the 3rd and 4th trimesters, every day. They were very helpful with supporting the back, compensating for the additional belly weight. The post-pregnancy belts are very helpful to help reduce the diastasis recti, providing great support for the back as well.
There are several brands available in the market. Below are just a couple from Medela, for illustration (pregnancy and postpartum versions).
Great Exercised to Do with a Baby or Toddler
First, set the mood with some fun and energetic music. Also, the room should be safe enough to allow you and your baby or toddler to be on the floor, comfortably.
Here are some examples of effective exercises to do your your little one (s)
Lower body: Sets of squats, dips, lunges, step-ups, or step-downs holding your child as resistance. You can also leave your child on the floor, bassinet or stroller close to you while you make the movements.
Upper body: Sets of push-ups, triceps dips, biceps resistance weight lifting using weights or holding your baby with both arms up and down. You can use the same resistance to work your shoulders.
Abs: you can use a Swiss ball. Do some abs holding your baby on your lap (bouncing up and down is very entertaining for babies and toddlers!)
Check out the links below for videos with more examples of effective movements to make with your kids (they will love it!):