In the weeks and months after giving birth, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit anxious to get outside for fresh air and physical activity. You might also be ready to lose any extra baby weight you may have put on during your pregnancy.
Rest assured that spending time outdoors with your newborn isn’t too much of a hassle, as long as you have a stroller. Plus, studies show that babies imprint on their mothers, which means that seeing you exercise will influence them to make healthy lifestyle choices later on.
Here are five ways you can exercise outside with your baby courtesy of Lisa Druxman, the founder of a stroller-based fitness program for moms known as Stroller Strides.
1. Go for cardio-interval stroller walks
Power walk as hard and as fast as you can with your stroller for 30 seconds, then spend the next 30 seconds recovering. Repeat this exercise for five minutes, and do it at least three times while you’re out walking. If possible, invest in a jogging stroller, which is easier to steer than most other strollers and can support high speeds while you’re exercising.
2. Do plies to slim and tone your inner thighs
Stand behind your stroller with your legs spread wide apart, keeping your feet and knees angled out. Slowly lower your upper body until your thighs come close to being parallel with the ground. Then, squeeze your bottom and thighs up to maintain a controlled stance. Druxman says to make sure your knees are directly over your ankles. If your knees go past your ankles toward your toes, you may need to widen your stance. Do at least three sets of plies when you’re outside walking with your baby.
3. Do stroller squats to tone your butt
Stand behind your stroller and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the handlebars. Make sure your feet and knees are facing forward, and that your legs are about hips-width apart. Then, sit your bottom back while keeping all the weight in your heels. To help maintain your balance, push your stroller out in front of you while you squat down, then pull it back toward you as you return to the standing position. Druxman suggests pretending that you are pushing your bottom back to hover over a toilet to ensure you’re practicing the proper form. Do two minutes of squats every 10 minutes while you are outside with your baby.
4. Do calf raises to tone your lower legs
Park the stroller on a sidewalk with the handlebars facing the street, and stand on the edge of the curb so the balls of your feet are on the curb and your heels are hanging off the edge of the curb. While holding onto the handlebars to balance yourself, drop your heels down and squeeze your calves to bring yourself back up. Repeat this exercise for one minute at a time to tone and strengthen your calves.
5. Do lunge walking to tighten your lower body
Hold onto your stroller and take long strides on your walk. While striding, lower your upper body downward until the front part of your thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Make sure that your front knee goes no further than your toes, then squeeze your thighs and glutes to come back up. Repeat this exercise for the other leg, and continue to work both legs for three minutes at a time. Lunges will help strengthen and tone your lower body, including your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.
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