Bond with your baby and get a workout, too.
Sure, it's important to find time to exercise after the birth of your baby. But it can be hard to tear yourself away from the amazing new being in your life. Mary Beth Knight, creator of the MommyMuscle Restore The Core DVD and a mother of two, designed the following workout so that you don't have to choose between spending time with your baby and getting rid of that post-baby belly.
"Working out with your baby creates a bonding experience between you and establishes a foundation for lifelong healthy habits," says Knight. "This workout incorporates learning and stimulation for your baby through ball play, singing and counting, while giving you a challenging workout right at home." The moves are designed to help get rid of the "pooch" that pregnancy leaves behind by focusing on the deep abdominal muscles.
You can do this workout every other day, but wait six weeks after delivery before starting; if you've had a Cesarean section, wait eight weeks or until your incision has completely healed. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning it or any other exercise program.
Warm Up: Put on your favorite music, pick up your baby and dance around the room for five minutes. Or, warm up with a walk (see sidebar).
The Moves: You will need a mat or blanket big enough for you and your baby, as well as a small, soft ball. During the workout, interact with your baby by singing, counting or playing with the ball as you do the moves. Repeat each move 4 times, working up to 10.
Cool Down: Lie on your back with your baby at your side. To stretch your lower back, hug your knees into your chest and rock from side to side.
Breathe deeply and pause at each side for 10 to 30 seconds. Sit up and take a moment to breathe slowly while holding your baby.