By Kate Horney
As a busy mom myself, I understand the mountain of obstacles that new moms face when it comes time to exercise. You want to look good, feel great and have the energy you need to keep up with your little one, yet sleep deprivation and crazy infant feeding schedules (on top of the million of other things you have going on) make it tough to get in any kind of routine.
According to a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, mothers with young children are less likely to get even the minimum amount of exercise they need to stay healthy than women of similar age without kids.
New moms have to figure out how to take care of their little ones while also taking care of themselves!
My solution? STROLLER EXERCISES!
Time is limited for busy moms. Our time is so short to exercise and it’s also short to be with our kids, but if you can combine the two?! That’s the best of both worlds!
First and foremost, I love stroller walks. Walking can be done safely by anyone, no matter what the condition of your core.
Here are 4 tummy safe tips to start walking with your stroller:
- Pace Yourself: When you are ready to start moving postpartum, it’s always a good idea to pace yourself. Start walking slowly, being conscious of keeping proper posture and alignment.
- Go Flat First: Avoid hilly areas as you build core strength and endurance. As your core becomes stronger, you’ll be able to maintain proper posture even while pushing uphill, but be aware of your positioning and alignment and go flat first.
- Start Short: Starting with just 5-10 minute walks per day will build up strength and endurance. Add a few minutes each day, in conjunction with some stroller strengthening exercises until you can successfully complete a 30 minute walk while maintaining proper posture and alignment.
- Watch Closely: When you begin using your stroller, watch closely. Look for signs of strain, improper posture, intra-abdominal pressure, urine leakage, etc. These are all signs of over exertion and should be avoided.
In addition to stroller walks, and eventually even sprints, I love to use my stroller for core strengthening exercises as well.
Remember when working on strengthening exercise for your core that you must always engage your core and pelvic floor before movement.
Here are 5 of my favorite Tummy Safe Core Strengthening Exercises with a Stroller:
- Stroller Heel Drops: Put your brake on and lay a blanket or yoga mat in front of your stroller. Lay down directly in front of your stroller with your head at the end of the blanket and your feet resting on the platform above the front wheel. Exhale as you engage your core and pelvic floor and drop one heel to the ground. Relax as you inhale, then repeat switching heels.
- Stroller Heel Slides: Lock the front wheel and lay a blanket or yoga mat in front of your stroller. Lay down directly in front of your stroller with your head at the end of the blanket and your feet resting on the platform above the front wheel. Start with both knees bent. Exhale as you engage your core and pelvic floor, sliding one heel slowly away from your body, adding resistance by pushing the stroller. Inhale, relax, engage your pelvic floor, and draw your leg (and stroller) back in. Repeat switching heels.
- Stroller Lunges: Stand behind your stroller with your hands on the handlebar shoulder-width apart. Exhale, engage your core and pelvic floor, and lunge forward with one leg, pushing the stroller out in front of you. Your knee should be directly above your ankle and your thigh parallel to the ground. In hale and return to the standing position and lunge with the other leg.
- Stroller Squats: Stand behind your stroller with your hands on the handlebar shoulder-width apart. Exhale, engage your core and pelvic floor, and with your feet and knees forward, squat down as if sitting on a chair, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees directly above your ankles. Be careful not to put weight on the stroller; you don’t want it to tip. Inhale as you squeeze your rear end and return to the starting position.
- Stroller Row: Get in proper squat position (see above) this time, instead of squatting and returning to a standing position, you will hold your squat and add a stroller row. Your feet should be set about as wide as your hips, hands about shoulder width apart on the stroller. Exhale as you engage your core and pelvic floor and push stroller roll forward so your arms are extended, then use your upper back muscles to pull the stroller back in to you. Inhale as you focus on a strong core and back to pull the stroller in towards your body. Repeat.
Note: Always check with your pediatrician and follow the stroller’s recommendations for proper usage. Most recommend the use of an infant car seat and adapter on your stroller until your baby is at least six months old, as most babies can’t hold their head up until that age.
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