• 14 Exercises You Can Do With Your Baby

    As us moms know, finding time to exercise is not always easy. Although, we are anxious to get back into our pre-pregnancy bodies, new mothers are faced with busy lifestyles. Finding personal time to exercise can be difficult to come by when your baby wants to be held 24/7. Getting into shape and spending time with your little one doesn’t have to be a choice. All you need are the right moves.

    Working out with your baby tones your arms, abs, legs, and butt without a personal trainer, a gym, or a babysitter. The resistance of your baby’s weight can help tighten and tone your muscles. Not only will you have fun during your workout, but the interactive movement will feel like quality play time for your baby.

    Ensure that your little one is comfortable and safe. Pick a time that is right for both of you. Your baby is more likely to be cooperative if he is fed and ready for play.

    Use extra caution when performing these exercises with your baby. Always protect the soft spot on your baby’s head. Try not to bounce or shake your baby too hard. Not all exercises may be appropriate for the age and size of your baby. Generally, you can begin exercising six weeks after a natural birth. A Cesarean section may require more recovery time. Just to be safe, always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

    Choose an area in your home that has with plenty of floor space. Use an exercise mat while doing floor exercises. If a floor mat isn’t available, use a clean towel over a carpeted area.

    All you need is 20 minutes of these 14 low impact exercises. Remember, to keep breathing. Don’t hold your breath. They will strengthen your entire body, while both you and your baby enjoy in the process.

    1. Squats

    Squats are a workout staple that engages several muscles of the body. This exercise can improve circulation, and posture. If you were to perform a normal squat without your baby, you would bend your arms at the elbow with fists meeting in front of your chin and hold your arms out in front of you to maintain balance and posture. You would inhale and hold it on the way down, then exhale on the way up. You want to maintain inter-abdominal pressure to protect your spine.

    Performing this exercise with your baby changes a little bit. Instead of holding your arms out in front to maintain balance and posture, you hold your baby with his back against your chest. Hold him securely by placing one arm gently around his chest, while the other scoops his legs. In this posture, you're using your baby to keep you balance and posture straight.

    Spread your legs a little wider than your shoulder, and turn your feet out slightly. Inhale as you lower your body. Bend your knees as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Place the weight on your heels for balance, and do not let your knees extend past your toes. Keep your back straight, chest up, and your stomach tight.

    When your thighs are parallel to the floor, exhale, lift up, and return to a standing position. Do three sets of 10 reps. Make sure you lift and lower yourself using your legs, not your back. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself while holding your baby. It's probably a good idea to try these out while your husband or friend supports you and watches to make sure you do it right the first time around.

    In proper form, squats define your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, and lower back muscles.

    2. Sit-ups

    While many people hate doing sit-ups, these exercises are essential to working your abs. There's no other way to directly target your abs unless you do sit-ups. If you've got baby fat on your tummy, then be prepare to make friends with sit-ups.

    When sit-ups are done with good form, they enhance your core strength. They also improve your overall fitness and general health.

    Sit down on your bum, with your knees bent 90 degrees. Hook your feet under a couch or a piece of furniture that will not move. This will anchor your feet to the ground. Rest your baby in your lap so that his back is resting against your thighs. You can hold on to your baby’s hands, but make sure not to squeeze or pull on his fingers too hard.

    Slowly, lean back towards the floor. Keep your neck in line with your shoulders, keeping your chin tucked down slightly. Lower your torso, and contract your abdominal muscles on the way down. When your lower back touches the floor, slowly return to a seated position. Give your baby a kiss at the top of the move. Inhale on the way down, and breathe out on the way up. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

    This move will work your core muscles, including your upper and lower abdominals. Take precautions to ensure you're doing them correctly though. Don't use your neck muscles to propel yourself forward off the floor, or your arms. Even lifting your back to get forward moment is bad form. This not only has the potential to hurt your back, but it doesn't effectively target your abdominal core. You have to make sure you're using your abs only to sit up. If this is the first time you've done sit-ups in a long time, then you're going to feel the burn for sure!

    3. Wall Sits

    Wall sits are a great fat burning exercise that will help you achieve endurance in your rock solid legs. This is a great exercise for skiers. They are easy to perform, but challenging to master.

    Hold your baby securely with his back against your chest. Wrap one arm gently around his torso, while the other arm scoops his legs. Lean your back flat against a wall, and spread your feet shoulder width apart. Walk your feet out about one foot away from the wall. Slowly slide your back down the wall, bending your legs to a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your knees do not stretch past your toes. Hold the position for as long as possible. If practiced every day, your time will gradually increase.

    This exercise tones your quads, abs, glutes, and calves. If you want less intensity, don’t slide so far down the wall. Only bend your legs to a 45 degree angle. This will take a little pressure off of your knees. Be sure to keep your head and back touching the wall at all times. This provides you with the support your back needs while performing the exercise. This also helps to evenly distribute your weight onto your feet.

    If you ever feel like supporting your weight and your baby's weight is too much for a beginner, you can always start working out with your baby by carrying them in a baby carrier. This way your baby is still with you during the work out, but instead of you holding the weight in your arms, the carrier distributes the weight to your core, as though your baby's weight was your own. It only alleviates the pressure of holding the baby, you will still feel heavier on your legs when doing these types of exercises.

    Remember to take water breaks, and only do what you can comfortably start doing. Don't force yourself to do more reps, or more sets if you're starting out from zero exercise routine. Aim to do only 20 minutes the first few weeks and only increase the amount of exercising once you're string enough to do so. You don't want to injure yourself, so relax and take comfort in the knowledge that you're doing something.

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    Spine Stretch

    When you stretch your spine, you improve your equilibrium and mobility down the spinal column. This exercise can help alleviate back pain, and improve your posture.

    Sit on the ground, and stretch your legs out in a V position that is wider than your hips. Lay your baby down on his back between your legs. Slowly walk your hands towards him, bending forward at your waist. Tuck your chin to your chest. Stretch forward as far as it feels comfortable. If possible, give him a kiss. Hold the position for 10 seconds, and then walk your hands back to the start position. Inhale while you lean forward, and exhale as you return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 reps.

    This exercise stretches your spine, hamstrings, and calves. You should never aim to lie down, you should only walk yourself forward until you feel that your spine has been stretched, you might feel the tightness in your hamstrings and feet, don't try to over extend your back muscles because you might pull something by accident.

    Some yoga professionals advise that you do this move after work to ease stress and strain of working all day long.

    5. Baby Bench Press

    If you are looking to enhance your chest, and tone your arms, you’ll want to do baby bench presses often. You will see quick results performing this upper body exercise.

    Lie on your back while holding your baby in the air. Your spine should be in a neutral position, not arched and not completely flat on the ground. Lower your arms down to your chest, keeping your elbows close to the body. Smile as you bring your baby closer to your face. Pause for a second, then press up again, extending your arms to a locked position. Exhale as you bring your arms down, and inhale as you push up. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

    Concentrate on engaging your arm muscles, rather than putting stress on your shoulders. To ensure that you are using the correct form by pressing the baby up over your chest, and not over the shoulders.

    This exercise strengthens your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

    6. Cat Stretches

    Exercises that unite your mind and body have many health benefits, including improving digestion, and improving flexibility. The cat stretch is a yoga move that brings mobility to your spine, and relaxation to your mind.

    Get down on all fours. Place your baby on his back, directly below your face. Curl your back towards the ceiling until you feel your back stretch. Tighten your abs, drop your head, and smile at your baby. Hold this position for ten seconds.

    Next, reverse the arch in your back by pushing your tailbone up, and tilt your head back. Exhale as you curl your back, and inhale as you arch. Repeat 10 times.

    This exercise stretches out the abs, chest, back, and shoulders. The slower you perform this exercise, the more meditative it becomes.

    7. Shoulder Press

    Building strong shoulders, improves your posture. The shoulder press is a resistance exercise that strengthens the upper body.

    Sit in a chair to support your back. Hold your baby close to your face, letting his feet dangle. Stretch your arms up to lift your baby in the air. Do not lock your elbows. Concentrate on using the muscles in your shoulders. Contract your abdominals while lifting so that you don’t strain your lower back. Slowly, bend your elbows to bring the baby back towards you for a kiss. Do three sets of 10 reps.

    This exercise works your shoulders, biceps, triceps, and upper back. If you prefer, you can do this exercise while standing. And if you find that your baby is too wiggly to hold to perform this exercise right, then you can replace your baby with a set of light weight dumbbells or same size soup cans, depending on your strength and ability you can use heavier weights.

    Just make sure that your arms aren't bent towards you or away from you. Your lower arms must be facing the ceiling in order to perform this exercise correctly.

    8. Glute Lifts

    Also called a hip thrust or the bridge, the glute lift is a move that volleyball players use to shape up. The bottom line is you can achieve a well-shaped backside with exercises like the glute lift. This move will burn fat and ease back pain.

    Lie down on the ground, and place your baby in your lap. Lay your head back, and your knees bent. Push your heels down, while pulling your hips off of the ground. Your shoulders to your knees should resemble a straight line. Lift, squeeze your glutes, and pause for a moment. Lower your body to the ground to return to the starting position. Exhale as you lift, and inhale as lower. Do three sets of 10 reps.

    This exercise engages your gluteal muscles, and your legs.

    9. Knee Lifts

    Not only do knee lifts help strengthen the quads, they also alleviate knee pain. Knee lifts can help improve balance, too.

    Sit in a chair with your back supported. Place your feet flat on the floor. Rest your baby’s back on the right side your chest. Let his legs straddle your right leg. While holding your baby securely, lift your right knee slowly, keeping it bent at a right angle. Lean back slightly in the chair as you lift. Lower your knee down to the floor, and slowly lift again. Do three sets of 10 reps on right knee, and then on the left knee.

    This exercise sculpts your quads, the lower abs, and your glutes. They build the muscles in the lower back.

    10. Second Plié

    The reason why ballet dancers have sculpted legs is partly due to a move called the plié. By definition, plié is French for bent. Pliés help keep joints limber and the tendons springy. This move also helps to develop balance.

    Stand up. Hold your baby so that his feet are dangling. Open your legs wider than your shoulders. Turn your feet out, but make sure that your balance is strong. Distribute your weight evenly on both legs.

    Bend your knees, slowly lowering your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight. Make sure that your ears are over your shoulder, and your shoulders are over your hips. Push your arms and baby in the air. When you bring him back down for a kiss, push up with legs to return to your starting position. Inhale as you bend, and exhale as you straighten your legs. Do three sets of 10 reps.

    You will feel the burn in your inner thighs, quads, calves, and glutes if you are doing them properly. Stand in front of a mirror to check your position.

    11. Kiss Ups

    Maintaining strong abs is important. Strong core muscles are necessary for good balance, posture, and maintaining a strong back. Your core is the foundation of your entire body. They help you to walk, carry groceries, and even bathing. On the other hand, a weak core can undermine all of these activities. Essentially, these muscles support every movement that your body makes.

    To perform kiss ups, lie down with your back on the floor. Place your baby face down on your belly. Lift your shoulders and your neck towards your baby. Kiss his head three times, and then slowly recline back to the ground. Do three sets of 10 reps.

    This exercise conditions your abs, shoulders, back, and strengthens the muscles in your neck. Keep doing this move, and you will have that bikini body in no time. If you continue to build these muscles, odds are, you will have an active future. 

    12. Dancing

    If jogging or tennis isn’t your thing, consider dancing at home for exercise. The music combined with the motion provides is a lively release. Cranking the tunes to putting on your dancing shoes is good for your mental and physical health. Dancing with your baby is sure to bring a smile to your little one’s face.

    Whether you salsa, waltz, or tango, dancing offers many benefits. Because dancing uses the big muscles of your arms and legs, the exercise helps to build bones, and upper body strength. The back and the abs become engaged.

    Dancing also assists in maintaining mental health. The workout boosts the supply of blood to the brain. Not only does it enhance your memory, but it also aids in weight loss, relieves stress, develops motor skills, and improves balance. It’s a pleasant way to get a cardio workout.

    Dance every day and you will see quick results. It will be a blast for both you and your baby.

    13. Lunge

    Having a strong lower body is as important as having a strong upper body. Strong legs will help you in your sporting activities, and assist your physical participation in almost every activity you do. Your glutes and quads are engaged in most of your physical activities as well. Adding strength to your lower body will help you in all areas of daily life.

    An ideal way to add power to your leg muscles is to do lunges. No equipment is needed. All you need is body weight.

    Stand up straight, holding your baby close to your body. Take a big step with your right foot. Bend both knees until they are both at right angles. Keep your body upright. Make sure that your knee does not extend past your foot. Contract your stomach muscles. Press down on your right heel to push you and your baby back to a standing position. Inhale as you lower your body, and exhale as you rise. Do three sets of 10 reps on your right leg. Switch legs and do three sets of 10 reps on your left leg.

    This activity requires good balance. If you are not steady, you may want to skip this exercise, or attempt it without holding your baby in your arms.

    14. Forearm Plank

    Planking has received much attention on social media sites in the last few years. This static move is a bodyweight exercise that is one of the best to condition your core. The goal is to hold your body up while continually contracting your abs. It’s called the plank because your body is supposed to be as straight as a plank of wood.

    There are many variations to planking. Forearm planking is slightly easier than a straight arm plank. Place your infant on the floor directly beneath you. Hover over him and smile. Start in a push up position. Place both elbows on the ground so that your toes and your forearms are the only body parts that are touching the ground. 

    Keep your body straight. Make a fist with both hands, and place them underneath your shoulders. Hold this position for as long as possible by balancing the weight on your arms. Typically, you should aim to plank for at least 30 seconds or more.

    This exercise engages both your upper and lower body using full-body stability. It conditions every main muscle in your body. It’s an excellent, all over workout that burn calories, yet requires no weights. All you need is a little floor space.

    All of these exercises will help you shed pounds, tone muscle, boost your vitality, and feel healthier. These exercises will help you to prepare your body for life. All you need is you and your baby. You can still do this workout when your infant becomes a toddler. It will just be much more of a challenge.

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