Clear your head, spend quality time with your little one and start working towards getting your pre-pregnancy body back. By Candice Tehini
Fitting in some exercise after you’ve given birth might seem like mission impossible, but it can be done. Grab your stroller, baby and training shoes, and head outdoors to get your blood pumping.
Benefits of exercising outdoors
- Research shows that exercising outdoors can do wonders for you, both mentally and physically. Exercise is a natural way of releasing those feel-good endorphins and can also help you burn off some nervous new-mommy energy.
- Research also shows a clear connection between spending time outdoors and a reduction in stress. As an added bonus, the fresh air and increased oxygen releases serotonin, so your outdoor training sessions not only help keep you fit and healthy, but can significantly boost your mood.
- By exercising outdoors, you’re also able to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Our bodies don’t produce it naturally, so the best way to get it is to spend around 20 minutes outside. Be sun smart and cover yourself and your baby in sun protection – especially the face, neck and shoulders. Take along a water bottle filled with ice-cold water that you can sip on continuously to stay hydrated.
Easy stroller workout
Head out into the garden, a park or any safe outdoor area near you and get strolling with these easy moves. For each workout move, try to do three sets of 10, then increase this to three sets of 15 as you get stronger.
It’s always a good idea to do a light warm up to get your blood pumping, awaken your muscles and prepare your heart for your workout. Start off with a brisk five-minute walk around the block, park or garden. Don’t be afraid to push your stroller up ramps or hills. This will help increase your cardio workload, which helps burn more fat.
Squats for a firm bum
You want to work your leg muscles no matter what body shape you have. This is the largest muscle group in your body and working them will help burn overall body fat faster. To do a stroller squat, stand in front of your stroller, lock the wheels and step your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, then drop your bum down between your legs as low as you can. Try to keep your chest lifted, heels firmly on the ground and knees behind your toes. Hold for a few seconds, then drive through your heels as you stand up again, and squeeze your bum when you get to the top.
Walking lunges for toned thighs
This move works well if you actually walk forward with each lunge – as opposed to standing in one spot and stepping forwards and backwards. Hold onto your stroller and take a big step forward with your right leg, pushing the stroller away, then bend your knees to lower yourself – your left knee should be pointing towards the floor and your right knee should remain behind your toes. Try to create right angles with your knees, hips and toes as this is a safe position that will prevent back, knee or ankle strain. Step up towards your stroller and repeat with the other leg.
Pulse for a little something extra
You can intensify both the squat and lunge by simply finding the bottom of the squat and slowly raising and lowering your bum to create little pulse movements. You want to be moving up and down no more than 10-15cm at a time. For the lunge, do the same thing in the bent position. Before standing up, pulse up and down 10-15cm for around 10 counts and then stand up.
Leg raises for lower abs
Lock your stroller’s wheels and lie on the ground on your back, then hold onto the front or back wheels. Keep your legs straight and slowly raise and lower them. Keep your core engaged so there’s no strain on your lower back and try not to let your heels touch the ground when lowering your legs. To get an overall abdominal workout, do one set of these raises, followed by a set of crunches to help work both your upper and lower abdominal muscles. Remember to suck your belly button in and down during ab and core exercises.
Push-ups for a defined back, chest and arms
Lock the wheels of your stroller and lie down on your stomach with your feet towards the stroller. Place your feet on top of the front of the stroller, then push up with your hands to straighten your arms. Hold for a second and lower yourself down again. Start by keeping your knees on the floor, then try a few with your knees lifted off the ground as you get stronger.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.