Grab the stroller for these simple moves for total-body toning.
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Grab The Stroller
Fitting in fitness with a newborn doesn't have to be Mission Impossible. There are plenty of ways you can tone up simply by heading outside—and you can even bring your little one along for the ride.
"Many new moms feel trapped when they have a new baby, but it's easy to be more active simply by grabbing your stroller," says Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides, a stroller-based fitness program that combines power walking with strength and toning moves and songs to keep babies engaged.
Exercising outdoors torches calories, zaps stress, and boosts energy while setting a healthy example for your baby. "More and more studies show that babies imprint on their moms, and seeing you exercise means they'll be more likely to adopt some of those lifestyle habits," says Druxman.
Crank up your cardio with a stroller walk
Add calorie-blasting intervals when strolling your baby by walking for 30 seconds as hard and fast as you can, and then recovering for 30 seconds. Repeat for five minutes and do three times throughout your walk.
"Using any stroller will work, with the exception of an umbrella stroller—these aren't designed for stability or speed," says Druxman. "But it's best to workout with a jogging stroller, which steers more easily and allows you to maintain better posture."
Make sure your posture is correct to prevent injury by keeping your head balanced between your shoulders and lined up on top of your spine (rather than jutting it forward).
Slim inner thighs with this plié move
Ballerinas have strong, lean thighs from doing lots of pliés, and you can squeeze in two minutes of this exercise by standing behind stroller with legs wide; feet and knees angled out. Lower your upper body until thighs come close to parallel with the ground. Lower down and squeeze your bottom and thighs up. Both directions are important so stay slow and controlled.
"You know your stance is wide enough if your knees are directly over your ankles," says Druxman. "If they go past your ankles towards your toes, your stance is too narrow and you should step wider."
Try fitting in three sets of pliés between your power stroller walking and other moves.
Tone your butt with stroller squats
"Doing squats is especially great for lifting your bottom," says Druxman. When you're out walking your baby, stop every 10 minutes to fit in two minutes of squats.
Follow Druxman's tips for the most effective form: Stand behind your stroller with the brake off, hands about shoulder width apart on the handlebars. Feet and knees are facing forward with legs about hips width apart. Sit your bottom back with the weight in your heels. You can push your stroller out in front of you during this motion and pull it back in as you pull yourself up to standing position. When squatting back, keep your spine long and strong, with your upper body only slightly tilted forward.
"A common mistake during this exercise is to bend forward from the upper body too much when it should be the lower body that is reaching back," says Druxman. "Imagine reaching your bottom back to hover over a toilet and I guarantee you perfect form!"
Get sculpted lower legs with calf raises
"An often neglected body part is our calves, and nicely-sculpted calves look sexy when you're wearing shorts or a skirt," says Druxman.
Park your baby on a sidewalk so that the handlebars are facing the street (but not where there are not cars driving by!). Stand on the edge of the curb with the balls of your feet on the curb and your heels hanging off the edge. Hold the handlebars just enough for balance but don't hang on to the stroller. Start with feet and knees facing forward. Drop your heels down and squeeze your calves to bring yourself back up. Do for one minute.
Advanced Option: For your second set, bring one foot behind the other ankle. You will do the same exercise, but this time it just uses one leg and it has to carry the weight of the other leg. It should be much harder. Do a set for one minute and repeat on the other side.
Tighten your lower body with lunge walking
"The lunge is by far one of the most effective exercises you can do to tone and strengthen your lower body," says Druxan. "It works a lot of muscles in just one move, including your quadriceps (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs) and your gluteus maximus (your bottom)."
To try them yourself, hold onto the stroller and take really long strides while lowering your upper body down until your front thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Your front knee should go no farther then your toes. Lower slowly and squeeze your thighs and glutes to come back up. Repeat on the other leg and continue switching legs for three minutes.
Try incorporating three total lunge walk circuits each time you're out with your baby to score a tighter lower body.