BY LAURIE ZOTTMAN & OLYA FESSARD JUN 2016
Are you longing to return to your pre-baby body?
Our simple tips and 65 ways to sneak your fitness into your new busy routine will do just that.
There is an abundance of information available to pregnant women on how to keep healthy while pregnant. It is equally important to stay healthy immediately after childbirth. One of the best ways of doing that is through exercise. Exercise might be the last thing on your mind after pregnancy, but it is more than worthwhile. It may be the best thing you can do for yourself and will pay off in years to come.
•Promote weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake
•Improve your cardiovascular fitness
•Restore muscle strength and tone
•Condition your abdominal muscles
•Boost your energy level
•Improve your mood
•Help prevent and promote recovery from postpartum depression
Better yet, including physical activity in your daily routine helps you set a positive example for your child now and in the years to come.
Pelvic Floor Exercise
The first and most important post-pregnancy exercises are the pelvic floor exercises. Begin as soon as you can, even after a C-section. It may sometimes feel like the last thing you want to do, but they will:
•Help your perineum and vagina to heal more quickly
•Prevent and treat accidental urine leaks
•Improve the circulation of blood to your perineum, which will reduce swelling and bruising
Think of your pelvic floor as a hammock. Your intention will be to tighten it. Begin while lying on your back or in a warm bath. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the squeeze for about five seconds while you continue to breathe in and out as usual. Build up to holding the squeeze for about 10 seconds.
If you have had a vaginal delivery, you can begin fitness exercises immediately. If you have had a C-section, check with your doctor. We all crave the payoffs of exercise—increased energy, uplifted mood, and greater pride in our appearance. However, we are busier than ever immediately after giving birth. Stealth workout to the rescue! It’s designed to mine any parent’s routine for easy opportunities to get fit. Sneak it in!
Get It Done
1. Exercise as soon as you wake up.
2. Hit the streets or gym before your family wakes up.
3. Sleep in your workout clothes.
4. Leave your gear beside your alarm clock.
5. Exercise at home in your pajamas.
6. Don’t shower until you’ve worked out.
7. Ride the caffeine surge after your morning coffee.
8. Reward yourself with your favorite protein-packed breakfast.
Put It in Playtime
9. Wear your baby for a brisk walk.
10. Give your kids piggyback rides.
11. Drag the kids on a blanket.
12. Do squats with the kids in your arms or hanging on your back.
13. Have an animal walk race. Try bear walk, crab walk, frog jumps, snake slither, and spider crawl.
14. Build an obstacle course of kid-friendly exercises, like skipping, riding a hop-ball, jumping over books, crawling under tables, and doing animal walks.
15. Have a family walk or bike ride for dessert every evening.
16. Play tag. Switch it up with animal walks or one-foot hops.
17. Challenge your kids to balancing contests in yoga poses: tree, fierce, lunge, warrior, triangle, or one-legged dog.
Pump it Up at the Park
18. Use monkey bars for pull-up variations with different grips (palms toward you or faced out, hands together or wide), going only halfway up or down, or resting your feet on the ground to partially support your weight.
19. Use a bench or low stair for triceps dips or inclined push-ups.
20. Romp with the kids on the monkey bars, slide, jungle gym, and swings.
21. Run up a hill and roll or sled back down.
Get It on the Go
22. Travel to nearby destinations by stroller or bike.
23. Jog or bike the kids to school or extracurricular activities.
24. If you work outside the home, workout on the way to or from the office or during your lunch break.
25. Take the stairs at work or appointments.
26. Walk briskly at the mall or warehouse store, and park your car farther away.
Socialize Your Exercise
27. Plan walkable playdates and family outings at the zoo, park, or wildlife sanctuary.
28. Get joe-to-go for mobile coffee chats.
29. Make a gym date with your honey.
30. Set up a weekly run or workout with your friends.
31. Start or join a workout accountability group on social media.
32. Register for a race with your friends, and keep track of your training together.
Shake up the Sedentary Sediment
33. Do planks (similar to a push-up) during TV commercials. Try variations from your knees, toes, hands, forearms, or raising an arm or leg to adjust the intensity. Alternate between front and side planks, holding from ten seconds up to two minutes.
34. Make everyone take a five minute movement break for every 30 minutes of screen time.
35. Do homework, paperwork, or chores to music while you stand at the counter and groove.
36. Read or watch TV while using the elliptical or exercise bike.
Do It in Downtime
37. Pump up your heart while the water boils or your computer boots up. Try skipping, running on the spot, jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, squats, pushups, or tri-dips.
38. Pull your shoulders down and back, stretch your neck up tall, and engage your abs whenever you sit, stand, or hold the baby.
39. Correct your posture in your neck, shoulders, and core when you stand at the sink or stove. Add in plié squats.
40. Do isometric (stationary tightening and relaxing) exercises at red lights and in traffic jams. Alternate 5-10 seconds of squeezing and relaxing with your legs, buttocks, pelvic floor, tummy, back, shoulders, arms, fists, and neck.
41. Enroll your kids in sports that offer concurrent classes for parents.
42. Go for a walk or run during the kids’ music lessons or homework time.
43. Pop in a workout video when they sleep.
44. Jump on the elliptical during the kids’ screen time.
Reveal the Hidden Gym
45. Every time you pick up or put down the baby, do three controlled, deep squats. If you do this seven times a day, you will do 294 squats per week.
46. Whenever you pick up the car seat bucket, grab it with two hands, lift with a controlled squat, and do three bent-over rows. One outing per day can give you a minimum of 42 rows per week (more if you take the seat out of the car and put it back at your destination).
47. Do squats or rows with the baby.
48. Create an at-home fitness class with a You Tube video of yoga, belly dancing, ballet, Zumba, or cardio-kickboxing. Find a workout that fits your time, from as little as eight minutes.
49. Use jugs of water or milk for one-arm rows or triceps lifts (with two hands behind your head) whenever you pick them up.
50. Make excuses for an extra trip up or down the stairs.
51. Do the original stair master: walk up and down the stairs going frontwards, backwards, side-stepping, jumping, or with one foot leading for an entire flight.
52. Do squat lunges down the hall going forwards, backwards, or sideways in pliés.
Make It Irresistible
53. Commit to something that feels great every day.
54. Bribe yourself with a post-workout treat.
55. Get workout clothes you love.
56. Join a gym that offers babysitting and a sauna, hot tub, or tanning bed.
57. Express your mood with a ferocious boxing routing or luxurious yin yoga.
58. Register for an adventure: an out-of-town event, nighttime run, zombie-ridden obstacle course, or helicopter-shuttled trail race.
59. Let it all go with a bedtime yoga routine.
60. Put lemon, cucumber, or frozen berries in your water bottle.
61. Create an epic workout playlist.
Make It Unforgettable
62. Write down the stealth workouts you’d like to try.
63. Set goals for the number of each exercise you’d like to complete in a week, and keep a running tally where you can see it.
64. Make movement goals as a family, and plan rewards for when you reach them. Keep track of your progress together.
65. Post inspiring pictures and words around the house and on social media.