Easy Exercises To Do With Your Baby
Contributed by Jamie Jones from Fit Pregnancy Club
It can be challenging to squeeze in some movement for yourself while managing mom life! Here are five simple exercises that will give you a full body workout, while keeping your baby happy and engaged as you sweat.
Moving Plank With Optional Push Up Kiss
Start in a long child’s pose with your arms fully extended in front of you and your baby in between your arms. Take a nice, full inhale through your nose, allowing your ribcage to find some expansion. Exhale as if you were blowing out birthday candles, hugging your belly into a corseted position. Next, draw your body forward into a modified plank pose with your knees still on the floor.
As you smile at your baby, you can press your body back to child’s pose and take another full inhale before repeating, or lower your body down into a push up. If you choose the optional push up, be sure to give your baby a kiss everytime you come down! Baby gets some love, while mama gets her core strength back.
Side Lying Leg and Glute Series
Set up your baby’s play mat near your exercise mat so you can both do your floor work! Lay on your side, facing your baby. Use a pillow, yoga block, or hand to support your head and ensure you aren’t rolling back onto your bottom hip or bum. Keep your hips like headlights facing your baby. With a slight bend in your bottom leg and your top leg straight, begin to lift and lower your top leg while squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Try tapping your toe to the front and the back, holding your leg up and doing circles forward and back, and pulsing your lifted leg while squeezing your inner thigh.
Side lying leg combos strengthen and stabilize your hips and pelvis with all the postpartum hormones, specifically Relaxin, that is still running rampant in your body. Relaxin keeps your body a little loose and flexible during pregnancy to allow shifts for your changing body, so we appreciate what it does! Relaxin then stays in your body for 3-5 months postpartum for every mom, longer if you are nursing. Since this hormone allowed joints to shift, it can cause a little instability even when you’re postpartum. Any work you can do to stabilize your hips and pelvis are really important, so doing side lying leg combos with your baby nearby can be great for both of you! If your baby is unsure about tummy time, this is a great opportunity to be down on his level and encourage him while you work on some lower body strength.
Standing Marches and Butt Kicks
If your baby enjoys being in a carrier or simply being held, try some standing movement. While supporting your baby’s head, inhale to take a deep breath, exhale and engage your core by zipping an imaginary zipper in the center of your belly and drawing your belly in. Next, start with some gentle high knee marches. Rather than doing run-in-place high knees here, move slowly while really focusing on core and glute engagement. Be sure that your posture is lifted and you aren’t leaning back to support the weight of your baby on the front. This will cause lower back pain and make it much harder to keep your core properly engaged. You can do the same thing while pulling your heel back to kick your butt, which engages your hamstrings and your glutes for a full lower body workout. It might even lift your heart rate a little. Smiling, singing, or listening to music can be a fun way to keep your baby entertained while you move!
Squat With Press
Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees and toes facing forward. Holding your baby with both hands, ground into your heels and sit back into a squat position. Inhale to take a deep breath, exhale and engage your core (by zipping an imaginary zipper in the center of your belly and drawing your belly in), and press your baby out to the front or up overhead. Inhale and lower your glutes and baby towards you, then exhale, wrap, and press back up as you come to stand. Throughout this exercise, drive through your heels while focusing on your core and glutes, and of course, your babe! Repeat as many times as you can and you’ll certainly feel your whole body when you’re done.
Reverse Lunge With Gentle Rotation
Here’s another great exercise you can do while holding your babe! Step back with your right leg and lower your right knee down to the floor. Keeping your body pitched slightly forward, you should start to feel your glutes talking to you. You can even add a very gentle upper body rotation to the right to challenge your core strength and balance. This gives the baby a little fun movement, too! Continue to engage your core as you press up to stand and take a nice big inhale to reset before doing the other leg.
While performing this exercise, keep your front knee behind your toes so that it tracks over your heel to avoid any knee pain or discomfort. This might mean stepping slightly further back with your back leg.
If your baby enjoys it, you can add a little overhead or forward press from the lunge position or standing position for an extra arm challenge!
Jamie Jones is a Master Instructor and Head of Training and Development at Fit Pregnancy Club in NYC.
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