Beginning a doctor-approved postpartum fitness routine (as early as six weeks post-childbirth) may feel daunting, but research suggests that the numerous benefits of regular exercise—weight loss, increased energy, and reduction in the risk of developing postpartum depression—outweigh any initial discomfort or fear associated with getting back in the proverbial saddle. Make fitness a priority while spending quality time with your little one by engaging in these four effective workouts:
Your health care provider may advise you against jumping right into a high intensity fitness routine, but don’t let that stop you from moving. Lace up your sneakers, secure baby safely in the stroller, and hit the pavement for a 30-minute daily walk at a moderate pace. Not only will you improve your cardiovascular health by strolling, but you may also relieve stress and encourage more restful sleep. As you build up your endurance, add in a series of walking lunges and side kicks to tone your legs, using the stroller handles for stability.
Fitness should be fun, so grab your pint-size dancing partner—properly fitted with a Huggies® Little Snugglers Diaper that will help keep your newborn’s perfect skin clean and healthy—and pump up the music. Dancing is an ideal light cardiovascular exercise for new moms, as it targets all of the body’s major muscle groups, improves balance, and elevates your mood. At first, place baby in a front carrier to support his or her body, but as your coordination improves freestyle with baby in your arms.
Activate your muscles by performing a modified weight-training routine—the repetitions and number of sets may vary by person—using your baby as resistance. To ensure baby’s safety and comfort, wear proper footwear, take extra care while slowly performing each move, and change his or her Huggies® Little Snugglers Diaper before you begin to provide a cushiony layer of protection between your baby’s skin and any future mess. Lovingly hug your little one as you squat and return to a standing position. Sit in a supportive chair, hold baby underneath his or her armpits, and press your arms above your head before returning him or her to your lap. Lay on your back, sit baby on your abdomen and grab both of his or her hands before performing a set of hip thrusts. Alternate the strength training exercises as your fitness improves and baby grows.
Incorporating the ancient physical, mental, and spiritual practice of yoga into your daily routine will help to strengthen your body, burn calories, and center your breathing. Layout a yoga mat onto your living room floor, place your baby on his or her back, andbegin a yoga sequence that will allow you to slowly transition from one pose to the next. For guidance onhowto include your little one,popin a mommy andme yoga DVD orlook for a local class that specializes in the total mind-body workout.
Use these exercise ideas to help you get motivated to move with your little one, but remember to always consult with your health care provider before starting this, or any, postpartum fitness program.
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