*We’ve partnered with Mountain Buggy to help you achieve your #fitmomintentions.
We know how hard it is to get back into your fitness routine after baby. You’re tired, you’re distracted and you’re always with that little bundle of joy…which makes it pretty hard to hit the gym.
Whether your postpartum fitness goal is to run a marathon or just take daily walks with baby, you can actually achieve your #fitmomintentions with just a stroller, your baby, and a little perseverance. We’ve partnered with Mountain Buggy to show you how, with a series of 6-week workouts curated by our fitness editor Roma Van der Walt.
Our first workout addresses general postpartum fitness, to help you gain strength and flexibility, and repair the body from pregnancy and birth. You can do this workout as soon as you’re cleared for fitness by your doctor (usually 6 weeks postpartum). Below, new mom Lauren Lorow, marketing manager at Sweaty Betty, shows you how it’s done!
Postpartum Stroller Workout
Workout Goals: To attack some of the weaknesses that pregnancy left behind and find out whether you suffer from issues such as diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction (most of us do!). To prevent long-lasting problems from bad posture (caused from breastfeeding and carrying the baby on one side), address a shift in your center of gravity, increase your flexibility.
Props: Mountain Buggy terrain stroller, which has a lie-flat seat recline so it’s newborn ready, plus an adjustable handlebar, hand brake, and shock-absorbing suspension.
Precautionary Advice: Your baby is still too young to run with you. So when you see “running” in your plan, make sure to park the stroller and run the short segments to and from the stroller.
● Start incorporating bird dogs into your daily routine to gently rediscover your deep core. This is an abdominal stretch done on all fours, where you extend your leg and opposite arm, then switch.
● Do your kegels for your pelvic floor every day.
● Go for walks outside at least 3 times per week for about 30 minutes, find a friend to walk with and maybe add in short running segments of 15-30 seconds.
● Reprogram your phone to unlock with the weaker hand index finger to avoid ‘de Quervain’s’ wrist pain and scroll and type with the index finger instead of your thumb as much as you can.
● If you aren’t bleeding anymore consider buying kegel weights or an electronic trainer for your pelvic floor. Use while walking with the stroller.
● Incorporate walking lunges with the stroller, taking a big step forward and bending the front knee while you gently hold on to the handle bar. Alternate legs and do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
● Practice holding your baby with your weaker arm.
● Sign up for a mommy and baby yoga class to get a good stretch.
● Keep up your stroller walks and organize them into a 10 minute warm-up, 2 sets of 10 repetitions of 30 seconds running and 30 seconds walking, then a 10 minute cool-down.
● If your baby gets fussy, take her out of the stroller and alternate between a squat and lifting her high up in the air for three sets of 15 repetitions.
● If you’re walking with a friend, ask them to hold the baby or place them back in the stroller while you do some tricep dips on a park bench.
● To keep working on diastasis recti, lie down on the ground, and work on ‘imprinting’ your lower back into the floor. Lie on your back, feet on the ground and knees bent. Inhale and relax your stomach, then exhale and press your lower back into the ground so that you couldn’t fit a piece of paper between the mat and your lumbar spine. Work up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Keep up with your bird dogs.
● By now you should feel good enough to either run more or go back to a cardio class. Try to incorporate a cardio workout by yourself of 30-50 minutes without having to worry about the baby. It’s important for your mental health as much as for your physical wellbeing.
● Incorporate some upper body strength work such as push ups on your knees or against a wall, to counteract the tension that comes from being hunched forward breastfeeding and to support carrying a growing baby.
● At home, consider doing something like a tabata (short, high-intensity intervals) or 7-minute workout. Modify as needed through the more intense portions. You can step into burpees and out of them without jumping, and do sideways steps instead of jumping jacks.
● If you have been doing your kegels regularly, now it’s time to test them with some more intense work such as jumping jacks. Try 2-3 sets of 60 seconds.
● If you feel that you can’t get through 60 seconds of jumps without leaking (or if some of your other cardio is impacted), consider working with a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor. Nobody should be having this issue for too long after giving birth.
● Make sure you practice good posture at work. Incorporate a lumbar cushion or gymnastic ball to sit on, or try a standing desk, if available.
● Use your lunch hour to get in more cardio exercise but don’t go back to doing planks, crunches or other traditional ab exercises until your diastasis recti is gone (which takes several months — even in the best cases).
● Keep up with 2 days of cardio, supplemented with stroller walking/running on the weekend and daily work on core and pelvic floor.
● Set goals. Do you want to run a race? Tone and strengthen to be in the best mom shape you can be? Get through a 30-day yoga challenge? After a total of 12 weeks, you can probably tackle most of these goals cautiously. Listen to your new body, take cues and step back when something hurts or doesn’t feel right.
● Reward yourself regularly. You gave birth to a human, you are working again, you are a partner, mother, feeding machine and an athlete! You deserve a massage or a nice meal out with your partner. Cheers to you!
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