Just over one year and one month ago my life changed in ways I never could have imagined. I became a mother to a sweet little baby boy! Jagger Kyle was born at 8:42 a.m. via C-section. I hadn’t planned on a C-section, but my body and my baby weren’t tolerating labor, so off to the operating room we went. For the next four to six weeks all I could think about was sleep and taking care of the baby. He slept, I slept. He was awake, I was awake. I ate, he ate. And that’s all my life consisted of until I went back to work when Jagger was six weeks old.
Once I got back to work, the reality of my new body was setting in. None of my clothes were fitting. Maternity clothes were all getting too big, thankfully! But all of my pre-pregnancy clothes just laughed every time I opened the closet. Sure, I had lost some of the “baby weight” but I had some pounds to go. About three months out I was down to only 12 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight and I just knew those last 12 pounds were going to be gone in another month.
Some of it has to do with age (I’m 43!!), some of it is lack of sleep, and a lot of it is excuses! I slipped into the excuses land. I’m too tired. I have too much to do. The baby is sick. The baby needs me. Blah blah blah! Then I realized that instead of using my baby as an excuse, why not use him as a REASON to exercise!
I read a lot of blogs, FB pages, and websites of moms and how they incorporated their babies in their workouts, runs, training, etc. I thought all that was great, but I didn’t have the equipment, the gym, or the money for trainers, so I had to do it on my own and figure out how to make it exciting for a very active, alert baby as well.
There are so many ways to incorporate baby into a “workout” and still make it fun and almost not like a workout. Here is what I learned and how I have fun with my little guy and still get some toning and cardio in without the excuses!
Remember! These exercises should not be done until your body and your baby are ready for them. Give it at least a couple months and consult with your doctor to see when you'll be ready to exercise.
1) TUMMY TIME!! We all know babies need tummy time to develop and strengthen their backs, necks, arms, legs. Well, moms, you can use tummy time for YOU too! One of my favorite positions for tummy time was lying on my back and putting Jagger tummy down on my tummy. He got excited being able to see momma and trying to “get me” and I used it to do mini crunches and sit ups. Sometimes I would just hold a crunch and he would try to kiss my nose. Other times I would do a full sit up and he would giggle and enjoy the ride! It was fun times for all!
2) AIRPLANE! There are a couple of ways we would play airplane. When Jagger was still working on tummy time, I would lie on my back and bring my knees up towards my chest, leaving my knees bent and my calves parallel to the ground. I’d then lay Jagger tummy down on my shins and hold him there. He was able to get in some good tummy time again and I did either mini-crunches to play “boo” with him or even some leg work by stretching and lifting my legs (all while hold him on my legs securely of course!). He loved the free ride and I loved the stretching and interaction with my kiddo! Another way is for older babies that have better head control. This uses your arms. Lay on your back, lay baby tummy down on your tummy, then lift them up and over your chest/head. I would do this in sort of bench press style. As he got even older I’d swing him more towards my head and even lower him to the floor. Another free, exciting ride for baby and some good strength training for the arms! After all, moms will be doing a lot of baby lifting over the next few years. We need that toning and strength!
3) HORSEY! One of my son’s favorite things to do is bounce. When he was smaller, I was able to cross my legs and then put him on the foot that was up off the ground and bounce him up and down. We called this horsey. Then I realized it was giving my leg a decent work out. I could feel my thigh muscles in places I had forgotten about. So I used this as a great leg work out and a time to hear my little guy squeal with delight. Switch legs every 30 seconds or so and you’ve got in some nice leg work!
4) CHASE! As my little guy got older and started crawling, then walking we would play chase! He loved me chasing him and then later on he would chase me. At first it was slow and easy, but the older he gets the more of a decent little cardio workout I get! We were chasing each other around the living room the other day and he was laughing so hard it made me laugh! It was good times for both of us. In the cooler weather, we go in the back yard and chase the kitties and the bugs! He loves chasing the kitties so much. We have one that will let him almost catch it and then run. He squeals, and runs off again and I chase after all of them. Believe it or not, it gets the heart rate going and the first few times I was out of breath! Much better than sitting on the couch.
5) Jogging/Walking Trails through nature! These things are little slices of heaven, if you ask me. Since we’re usually up by 7 to 7:30 every day (yes, even weekends!), we will head out to the closest trail and take in the cool morning air and see some fun things along the way. It gets us out of the house. It gets in a mild cardio session for me. And it allows him to explore new things. There are a couple of them that “end” at a park and we stop and swing, slide, run around. Another great way to connect with your little one and nature and get some fresh air which is always good for the body and soul!
All in all, a great workout doesn’t always have to be getting your sweat on at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, those are great and much needed, too. However, times with the little one and showing them that being active and healthy are easy and important are just as great too!
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