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Have baby — can exercise!

By Patrick Drew, updated November, 2013
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Congratulations — the birth went well and you now have a lovely little baby! After the first month(s) or so of a whirlwind of new impressions and skills to be learned including diaper changes, feeding, lack of sleep etc., you might feel the urge to take up some physical training again.

The effects on your body after carrying a baby for nine months are not exactly pleasant for most new mothers. You gain weight, you gain extra stretch marks, Your tummy muscles feel all wobbly and weird, your fitness levels take a hit, and you tend to not exactly feel the most confident that you've ever felt. This is perfectly normal, and there is nothing to be ashamed about. If you have decided to lose your unwanted baby weight and get back in shape, then there are a number of safe exercises to allow you to do so, sometimes even with the inclusion of your newborn child. Here, in this article, we'll be looking at just three of these safe, effective, fat burning exercises to help you get your slimmer, fitter, healthier body back.

One of the key things to remember — is that this can also be playtime for your child! They are very happy to do anything with their mother — especially in close physical proximity.

One of the key things to remember — is that this can also be playtime for your child! They are very happy to do anything with their mother — especially in close physical proximity.

Walking — As we said, carrying a baby is not easy, so it's important to not over exert yourself when you begin exercising again. Walking is a great way of burning calories, lightly toning your muscles, especially your legs, and helping to get some endorphins flowing around your body. The great thing about walking is that you can also involve your baby. Whether they can walk or not, you can still take them for a walk around the block or around your local beauty spots instead. If they can't walk, and you have to push them around in their pram, then great, that just means that you're working even harder and burning more calories without even realizing.

When you take your child for a walk in the stroller — you have the perfect opportunity to engage in some low level cardiovascular exercise. Instead of (or at least sometimes) having a leisurely stroll around the block with a cafe latte in your hand — consider moving a lot faster! You do not necessarily need to run — though this is an exercise we will cover in an other article — but at least talk at an elevated speed — just short of jogging — while pushing the stroller. This will exercise your body, use a large amount of your muscles, and will give your heart and lungs a little workout.

When you take your child for a walk in the stroller — you have the perfect opportunity to engage in some low level cardiovascular exercise.

Keeping the speed at a fast walk (also while pushing the stroller) helps keep the activity at around 60% of your maximum heart rate — which is ideal for weight loss.

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One of the important things to remember when carrying your baby in your arms is to alternate equally between your right and left sides — so that your body is equally exposed to the new weight / walking routine.

Shoulder and head lifts — These simple toning exercises can be done in the comfort of your home, and will help to tone your stomach, as well as your back muscles. To perform the exercises, simply:

  • Lay flat on your back with your arms down by your sides.
  • Bend your knees, making sure that the bottom of your feet touch the floor, whilst your back remains straight.
  • Breathe in and relax your stomach. As you breathe out, begin to gradually lift your head and neck up from the floor.
  • Lower your head back down, breathing out as you do so. After performing 10 of these head lifts, next it's time for shoulder lifts.
  • Get into the same starting position as you did previously for the head lift exercises. Relax your stomach and breathe in.
  • As you breathe out, begin to slowly lift up your shoulders and your head off the floor, making sure to reach forward towards your bent knees with your hands. Alternatively place your hands directly next to your ears instead. Do NOT place your hands behind your head! This can result in your inadvertently pulling your head up and injuring your neck.
  • Breathe in again as you lower your shoulders and head back down to the ground.

Note: These look like the start of a sit-up or a crunch. If you feel up to it — go right ahead and try to do some full sit-ups.

Mother and baby squats — Don't worry, this isn't as harsh as it sounds, and it certainly doesn't involve your baby actually doing any squatting exercises. What it does involve however, is the mother doing body weight squats, whilst holding onto her child. These squats will keep your baby entertained, whilst helping to burn calories and tone your legs. To perform these squats, you are required to:

These squats will keep your baby entertained, whilst helping to burn calories and tone your legs.

Stand with your legs just wider than shoulder width apart Next, hold your baby tight, close up towards your chest.

When you're sure you've safely got hold of your baby, gently squat down slowly, until your baby's feet just graze the floor. Your baby will love this as it's no different to most playtime activities that parents engage in with their infant children anyway.

When you begin to rise upwards, ensure to bring your child back up close against your chest again.

Repeat this process for another 15 to 20 times, or until you and your baby have had enough. Your child should preferably be at least 8 weeks old for this exercise.

Baby Reverse push-ups — This is an excellent exercise that really helps form the muscles of the arms and remove excess fat — and at the same time is a very intense mother-baby activity.

Lie on your back with your child held in your hands above your face.

Then as you maintain eye contact, smiling and chatting with your child, slowly raise and lower your child. Eventually lower to your face and give them a kiss — then raise again and repeat.

Repeat for 15 repetitions — or until your baby has had enough.

If you feel like adding slightly to the challenge — you can raise your legs straight up into the air as you do these exercises, thus training your abdominals at the same time.

Baby Push-ups — One of my absolute favorite exercises for upper body conditioning.

Place your baby on the floor comfortably, and place yourself over them in the push-ups position. If you are slightly uncertain about your ability you can start with your knees on the floor — otherwise do a proper push-up.

Lower and raise yourself — each time you lower yourself come face to face with your child and maybe give them a kiss. Remember to always be smiling and happy — and that this is also very much playtime for your child!

Leg raises — this is a particular version specific to Mommies with children. Lie on your back with your knees raised, bent 90 degrees, and your lower legs parallel to the floor. Place your baby on your lower legs, balancing on your shins, with its upper body and head over your knees, looking at you. Then as you maintain eye contact and smiling, you can raise and lower your legs using the baby and gravity as resistance. This will exercise your upper thighs and quadriceps.

Remember to always be smiling and happy — and that this is also very much playtime for your child!


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