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Break a Sweat with Baby
As a new mom, you’re busy morning till night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in an effective workout. To prove it, we’ve put together some quick, energizing exercises that you can do at home in minutes. These simple moves work your whole body yet don’t require hours of effort—plus, your baby will be front and center during these moves, so the two of you can bond while you’re working out. You can do the “quickie” routines separately or together every other day. With your doctor’s approval, it’s fine to start doing these exercises as early as six weeks after you’ve given birth (probably longer if you had a Cesarean section).
Baby safety: When performing exercises in which your baby must hold his head up on his own, be sure he can do so without discomfort (usually starting at 3 to 4 months old).
Mom prep: Before performing any exercise, roll your shoulders back and down and draw your navel toward your spine to protect your back. Inhale through your nose and expand your ribs. Exhale through your mouth, drawing your abdominal muscles in.
Dancing provides a light cardiovascular workout that involves all the major muscle groups and improves balance and coordination. It’s also sure to elevate your mood, no matter how tired and stressed you might be.
You can do this while holding your baby or with him in a front carrier that keeps him close to your body and supports his head (a carrier with straps that fit over your shoulders and around your waist is best). Just put on some music you love and dance, keeping your abs drawn in. For variety, try intervals of slow and moderately fast music to keep your heart rate elevated. (If your baby is in a carrier, be cautious when turning quickly and avoid bouncing.) Breathe deeply or sing out loud to monitor your exertion level; you should be able to speak without losing your breath.
You also can place your baby in a bouncy seat or swing and dance around him. Make your movements large and animated (reach above your head and stretch your arms out to the sides, for example) and maintain eye contact with him.
CURL-UP: (A) Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Place your baby in a seated or reclined position on or just above your pubic bone. Hold him securely under his arms with your fingers wrapped around his torso.
CURL-UP: (B) Contract your abs and lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the floor in 2 counts; lower in 3 counts. Exhale through your mouth as you curl up, drawing your abs up and in. Do 15 to 20 reps. Rest and play, then do 1 more set.
Reverse Baby Curl (A)
REVERSE BABY CURL: (A) Lie face up on the floor and bring your knees toward your chest; place your baby on your shins.
Reverse Baby Curl (B)
REVERSE BABY CURL: (B) Contract your abs to gently tilt your hips up off the floor as you lift your head and shoulders at the same time. Lower and repeat (this will gently rock your baby forward and back). Do 15 to 20 reps. Rest and play, then do 1 more set.
Baby Overhead Press (A)
BABY OVERHEAD PRESS: (A) Sit cross-legged, holding your baby in front of your chest with your elbows bent.
Baby Overhead Press (B)
BABY OVERHEAD PRESS: (B) Straighten your arms upward without locking your elbows. Pause, then lower your baby to the starting position. Do 10 reps, rest and play, then do 2 more sets.