Most new moms eagerly await the day when they can dust off their pre-pregnancy jeans, pull them on – and actually manage to fasten them. Shaking off that stubborn baby weight is difficult enough, but between endless diaper changes, feeds, and everyday chores, finding the time to regain your pre-pregnancy body can seem downright impossible.
Can't seem to fit in a minute of me-time? Don’t despair. There are loads of exercises you can do with your baby. And the best part? Sweating it out with your sweetpea boasts a three-fold advantage of providing bonding time, entertainment, and a rewarding workout.
If you've been given the greenlight by your physician and you're ready to rock, check out our favorite mom and baby-friendly exercises below.
Go for a stroll
Being cooped up all day can take a toll on both your physical and mental well-being. Getting out and about with your bub will help you get your daily dose of vitamin D while providing some light exercise at the same time. Packing a diaper bag and strapping your baby into her stroller is a great place to start if you're looking for a gentle and stress-free way to ease back into an active lifestyle. Walking at a moderate pace for as few as 20 minutes a day can boost overall health and help shrink your waistline – and we’re willing to bet your baby will love it too.
Pick up the pace
Ready for something a little more intense? Whether you're an avid runner or just want to get your heart-rate up, taking a jog is sure-fire way to burn off excess calories. If your little one is at least six months old and can comfortably hold his head up, investing in a jogging stroller will allow you to get your daily cardio session out of the way while your tot gets to go for a joyride.
Use your baby for strength training
Every mom is familiar with the muscle strain that results from lugging a baby around all day. Make your baby's ever-increasing weight work to your advantage by including her in your resistance training routine. When done regularly, these moves can help firm and sculpt muscles, and might even elicit a few giggles from your little one while you're at it.
Baby overhead presses can be done either seated or standing. Although you won't be able to get the full range of motion as you would when using dumbbells or a barbell, your shoulders and deltoids will still get a mighty workout. Keeping your core tight throughout will help you maintain proper form and firm up your abdominal muscles. Word to the wise: Don't attempt this exercise right after a feed – surprise spit-ups can put a serious damper on your workout.
Securely hold your baby in front of you at shoulder level.
Raise your baby up and over your head, straightening your arms without locking your elbows.
Hold this position for 5-10 seconds before lowering your arms and returning to the starting position.
Do three sets of 10 reps, taking a short break between each set.
A favorite among both moms and babies, glute bridges are fun, easy to do, and sure to help you get your butt back in shape – literally. This move targets the glutes (buttocks), hamstrings, and core.
Grab a yoga mat and lie down face up on the floor.
Bend your knees, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor with your baby straddling your hips.
Keeping your shoulders and feet on the floor, securely hold your baby as you raise your hips, fully extending them to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Squeeze your glutes at the top of the move and hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering your hips back down to the floor.
Do 10 repetitions and repeat three times.
Many moms desire a firmer abdomen following pregnancy. Crunches are one of the easiest abdominal exercises you can do with your tot and, when combined with other core-engaging exercises like planks, can help you strengthen and tighten your midsection.
Lie face-up on the floor, keeping your knees bent and feet on the floor.
Position your baby in the fold at your waist, supporting her with your hands.
Tighten your core as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.
Hold for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position.
Do three sets of 15 reps, taking a short breather in-between each set.
Fitness fanatics often proclaim that if they had to choose just one strength training move to do for the rest of their lives, squats would win every time. Why? With the correct form and some resistance, squats have more potential than any other singular move to target just about the whole body. By doing weighted squats, your lower body, core, and upper body all get a good workout. Varying the distance between your legs will also target different areas. For example; Narrow squats with feet no more than hip-width apart will hit the outer thighs harder, whereas wide-stance squats with toes pointed slightly outward will offer more stability, allowing you to squat deeper and better target your inner thighs and buttocks. Here's how to do them with your baby.
Hold your baby to your chest. We recommend using a structured baby carrier, but if you're more comfortable using your arms, that's okay too.
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and slowly lower yourself as if you're about to sit down.
As you do this, make a conscious effort to keep your back straight. Also watch your knees – they should never move past and over your toes.
Squat as deep as possible, aiming for your thighs to at least be parallel with the floor if you're just starting out.
Hold for a few seconds, and squeeze your glutes as you return to the starting position.
Repeat 10-12 times, doing two to three sets.
Do the baby boogy
Even if you don't consider it exercise, dancing is a feel-good way to get your heart-rate up and those endorphins pumping. While you might not be able to bust out your most prized moves with your little one in your arms, you’ll still be getting active and working up a sweat. So pump up your favorite jams and grab your pint-sized partner for a fun and memorable workout you'll both enjoy.
Erica van Blommestein is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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