Getting some exercise and hanging out with your baby: What could be better?
Just had a baby? If so, you have two reasons to celebrate: one, you have a beautiful new being in your life; two, it's a great time for you and your baby to get out of the house and enjoy some sunshine.
Even if you have just enough energy for a walk around the block, put your baby in a front carrier and go; it will do wonders for your mind. When you feel like doing more, start with our easy “Day 1 Moves”.
Finally, when you want to do more but aren’t ready to go back to your yoga class or the gym, we’ve got the program for you—and all you need is your baby and a stroller. Designed by Elizabeth Trindade, a trainer and mother of four in New York, the Strollercize workout will strengthen your whole body.
Another way to help get your body back is to breastfeed your baby. While nursing may come naturally to some new moms, many women need a good dose of guidance and support in those early days.
The Strollercize Workout:
You can start this workout at six weeks postpartum, or earlier with your doctor’s approval. Do 20 minutes of striding with the stroller, then perform the six strengthening moves below. Try to get in at least two exercise sessions per week, with a day off in between.
Step 1: Warm-up
Begin with 3 minutes of exercises to limber up your joints and muscles, such as ankle rolls, side-to-side lunges and shoulder circles.
Step 2: Aerobics
Follow the warm-up session with a 20-minute walk with your baby in a stroller. Vary the pace and intensity throughout the walk for the most effective workout.
Step 3: Strength Moves
If you’re a beginner (six to 12 weeks postpartum), do 10 reps of each of these exercises. After three to four months postpartum, do 15 reps; after four or more months postpartum, do 20 reps.
1. Peekaboo Face the stroller, hands on the handle and feet hip-width apart [A]. Take a wide step forward and to the left with your left leg, bending your left knee to lean past the side of the stroller; keep your right leg straight. Slide your left hand down the side of the handle for balance. Stay low and peek around the stroller at your baby [B]. Remain low and shift your body weight back, straightening your left knee to return to starting position. Alternate sides and repeat for reps. Strengthens quadriceps and inner thighs.
2. Stroller Lunge Walks Stand behind and to the right of the stroller. Place your left hand in the center of the handle, right hand on your hip. Contract abdominals so your tailbone points down [A]. Take a long step forward with your right foot, bending knee until your right knee is almost over your right ankle; keep left leg fairly straight. At the same time, push the stroller forward [B]. Next, push off the back foot so feet are together again. Repeat for reps with right leg, then switch and do reps with left leg, holding handle with your right hand. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves.
3. Arabesque Buttocks Pulse Grasping the handle with your left hand, stand behind and to the right of the stroller. Stand on your left foot, leg straight, and extend your right leg behind you, toes touching the ground [A]. Lift right leg about 4 inches and pulse upward for reps [B]. Switch to left side of stroller and repeat with left leg. Strengthens buttocks and hamstrings.
4. Moment of Peace Face the stroller and place your hands wide apart on the handle, toes facing out. Move into a wide plié: Contract your abs, bend your knees and lower your torso; keep heels on the ground. You’ll feel a stretch on the inside of your thighs [A]. Push the stroller away, holding it at arm’s length; hold position for a count of 20 [B]. Slowly roll the stroller back toward you. Straighten up and repeat for reps. Strengthens quadriceps, buttocks, shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps.
5. Standing Rollout Face the stroller, feet shoulder-width apart, legs straight, abs contracted, torso lifted. Place hands in the center of the handle, keeping it close to your body [A]. Push stroller away from you by straightening your arms as you bend your knees; lean forward from hips until your back is almost parallel to the ground. In the finished position, your head, arms, shoulders, back and hips should be in a nearly straight line [B]. Pull the stroller toward you by bending your elbows and straightening your torso without rounding your back. Keep abs contracted throughout the exercise. Repeat. Strengthens middle and lower back, shoulders, biceps and abs.
6. The Waister Stand next to the stroller so the handle is right next to your left hip; keep legs straight and feet slightly apart. Place left hand on the handle, right hand at your side [A]. Bending your knees slightly, push the stroller away with your left hand until your left arm is straight and you feel a stretch down the right side of your torso. Keep abs contracted and hips as still as possible [B]. Pull stroller toward you and return to starting position. Repeat for reps on left side, then switch sides and do reps on right side. Strengthens abs, spine muscles and lateral flexors.
Step 4. Cool Down
Sit on a bench and stretch your major muscles, especially your hamstrings, calves and lower back. Hold each stretch for 10–15 seconds without bouncing.
Day One Moves
You can begin these gentle exercises the day after you give birth. Try to do them at least once a day.
Kegel exercises Contract your vaginal muscles and hold for 10 seconds, then slowly release. Start with 5 repetitions, gradually increasing to 25.
Belly breathing Lie faceup with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale and expand your abdominal muscles, then exhale and contract abs. At the same time, tilt your pelvis up, bringing hips toward lower ribs. Release and repeat. Aim for 15 reps per day.
Static stretching Stretch your major muscles in bed or while standing. Hold each for 20–30 seconds.
Standing posture Do standing pelvic tilts (contract abs and tuck tailbone under; then release to neutral).
Shoulder rolls Gently roll your shoulders forward and back in a circular motion.