Exercises with your baby may seem daunting, but if you think about it, you’re likely getting quite a workout just lugging him around all day. No joke – my right bicep is more toned than my left because I usually carry my baby in my right arm! But since I’m not a regular exerciser, I had to turn to the experts on this one. Turns out that Huvie Gately, a personal trainer in Boca Raton, Fla., has quite a few good mom and baby exercises to try. “There is nothing your little one wants more than your undivided attention,” explains Gately. “And that’s just what doing these exercises will give him.”
Lower body exercises. While holding your baby against your chest (or wearing your baby in a baby carrier), you can do almost any lower body exercise, such as squats or lunges. The key, says Gately, is holding the baby close to your center and on your person — not holding the baby on your hip as most moms do. This will ensure that you don’t hurt yourself while you’re exercising. Of course, you’ll need to hold a newborn more tightly than an older infant, but these exercises can be done with both.
Push-ups. Lay your baby underneath you so that each time you come up and go down, you’re playing peekaboo with your little one. She’ll be thrilled at the game you’re playing, and you’ll get a nice upper body workout in the meantime. This also works with planks and any exercise where you can be right on top of your baby (just don’t collapse on top of her at the end of your rep!).
Sit-ups. Lie down on the floor on your back, and prop your baby up on your thighs. A newborn baby probably won’t move and will be fine in that position. An older baby might roll over, so Gately suggests placing your baby on your stomach, face down, with their arms and legs spread out over each side of you. It’s just like having a weight on your stomach, and each time you come up to do a crunch, you’re playing peekaboo again!
Cardio. A lot of people stay home more after they have a baby because the thought of going to the gym with a baby is a bit daunting. What if she poops just as you’re working up to a jog on the treadmill and you have to stop and go change her? What if she doesn’t stop crying in the babysitting room? And that’s if your gym even has a babysitting room! “People often don’t think about just going for a walk with their baby, even though the stroller is sitting right there,” explains Gately. She suggests picking a spot 10 minutes away from your house, walking there, and then turning around. You get a 20-minute workout, and your baby gets some fresh air and gets to see and smell the outdoors – it’s a win/win for everyone, especially now that the weather is warming up a bit.
Gately doesn’t suggest doing arm exercises while holding your baby without being monitored since you could injure yourself, so after you’ve gotten most of your workout in while holding your baby, lie the baby down for a few minutes next to you with some toys while you work on your biceps, triceps, and whatever else you can’t do while holding your little one.
Remember, besides the obvious benefits of exercise (uplifting your mood, getting physically fit), exercises for mom and baby have their own special benefit: bonding with your little one.
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