Exercise is probably the furthest thing from a woman's mind during the sleep-deprived first weeks of her new baby's life. Tending to your baby and coping with sleep deprivation are often more than one can handle sanely, much less entertaining the notion of infusing the day with a workout. However, incorporating some very simple moves into your day without too much adieu when your body's up for it can make a huge difference in rebounding your body more quickly.
As soon as you are feeling up to any movement at all, sneaking these clever little toning and strengthening moves into your daily routine (if there can be such thing in the earliest weeks of life) will jumpstart your energy and increase your confidence.
Follow these simple tricks to infuse your day with fitness & hardly even notice:
Use the strength in your legs every opportunity you get. For example, while unloading the dishwasher, squat down to remove the items and side lunge to get them to their location, then side lunge back to the dishwasher. This should give you a solid 3-5 minutes of leg toning exercise and burn a few calories while you're at it. The best part of squat & lunge infusion: they can be done with baby on board in most cases!
Baby bicep curls. That's right. Babies are wonderful resistance. Gripping your little love palms curl your arms slowly up toward your shoulders. When the baby reaches shoulder or collar bone level, slowly lower. Be sure to maintain a stationary stance with your elbows and repeat ten times if possible. Don’t worry if it's less. You can make it up as the day (or night) wears on.
Airplane crunches are great fun for baby and wonderful help in busting that post-baby belly bulge. Lying flat with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle from the floor with knees directly above your hips, place your baby facing down on your shin bones. Hold hands for security as you gently curl your tailbone up a few inches, creating tension between your pubis and belly button. Imagine retracting and slowly releasing a rubber band from your perennium to your belly button, repeating until you feel a good burn.
Dancing your baby to sleep is a wonderful calorie burner. Dancing your way through your day, whether vigorously or slowly will whittle your waist without too much thought. Babies love dancing's swaying and rocking movements, because it's a feeling akin to the constant motion in utero. Try holding your baby while doing side leg raises, supported dog kicks and other moves that elevate the legs and/or rotate the hip joints to target those often challenging rear and thigh areas. Dancing is a much more effective way of whipping your body back into shape than rocking the day away in a chair.
Do the twist! Even if the chore at hand doesn't require really reaching, you can strengthen your obliques and abdomen by using these muscles to twist your midsection about your spine as your reach left or right for certain objects. For example, if you're reaching for something on the counter to your left, twist and reach for it with your right arm. The idea is to get your body to make larger, more sweeping motions with just about everything you do. Keep your spine erect and your abs engaged to really tone and strengthen your core while going about the day’s ordinary activities.
In fact, the simple act of bringing conscious awareness to your core muscles as you go about your daily routine will offer an opportunity to strengthen your core and improve your posture. When you're using your muscles correctly, you will use more calories and improve strength simply by using your musculature correctly. Use these simple strategies to ward off the weary feelings that often accompany the prospect of committing to a full-blown workout. Restoring some measure of the core strength to move your through post-partum life with baby in tow doesn’t necessarily require a gym!
See my book Your Orgasmic Pregnancy: Little Sex Secrets Every Hot Mama Should Know and/or participate in one of our call-in teleseminars for handy tips about breathing, yoga postures and simple exercises to infuse your routine with feel-good movements without going above and beyond your commitment and energy levels in the months immediately following your birth.
Danielle Cavallucci has been involved with health-focused advocacy for over a decade. After the birth of her first child she became a birthing mentor and a specialist in pregnancy fitness. A Reiki master and holistic practitioner, her works include founding Sensual Fusion and working with both men and women to achieve their highest potential for sensual, physical and spiritual fulfillment within the context of facilitation and re-centering. See her book Your Orgasmic Pregnancy: Little Sex Secrets Every Hot Mama Should Know and/or participate in one of the call-in teleseminars for handy tips about breathing, yoga postures and simple exercises to infuse your routine with feel-good movements without going above and beyond your commitment and energy levels in the months immediately following your birth.