Baby on board? Work the stroller into a workout
Once you have a baby, it's easy to let exercising fall to the wayside. After all, if you can barely fit in time to shower, then making time to work out may seem as extravagant as taking a quick trip to the moon.
But while hitting the gym daily with an infant or tot may be nearly impossible, getting your workout done doesn't have to be. Simply pop your baby into the stroller and hit the streets.
Jennifer Lungren, an instructor in Virginia for Stroller Strides, a fitness program for moms with tots, shared her best tricks to working out with a baby on board.
Before you start, warm up with a five-minute jog or power walk. After each exercise, repeat the run or power walk for three to five minutes. If any of the exercises are painful, stop immediately.
SQUAT: Starting in a standing position with your hands on the stroller handlebar, place your feet hip-width apart with your feet and knees facing forward. Sit down as if you're moving backward into a seat, and squeeze your glutes and thighs to bring yourself back into the starting standing position. Push the stroller out as you sit, and pull it back in as you come up. Do 15-25 reps.
SIDE PLIÉ SQUAT: With your right side facing the stroller and right hand on the stroller, stand with your toes facing out and take a large step away from the stroller. Squat down, dropping your bottom as low as you can with your body weight in your heels, pushing the stroller away from you. As you come up, pull your right leg in to meet the left leg. Repeat all the reps on this side, and then switch sides. 15-25 reps per side.
WALKING LUNGES: Standing behind the stroller with your hands on the handlebar, step forward with your right leg. The stroller will move forward as you move forward. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle so that your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your right shin is perpendicular to the ground. Your back leg should be almost straight. Keep your torso upright with your hips and shoulders facing forward. Use your right leg to return to your starting position. Don't use your stroller to help lift you; it may tip backward if you put too much weight on it. Instead, use the power of your front leg. Alternate with the other leg.
ABS PULL: Face the stroller with your right side, standing with your feet no more than hip-distance apart with your toes facing out. Use your right hand to push the stroller away while reaching overhead with your left arm. Your right arm should extend out straight. Use your abs, focusing on the left side, to pull the stroller back. Go through all the reps and then switch sides. 15 reps per side.
CARDIO BABY TICKLE: Standing in front of the stroller with your feet together, jump your legs apart and lower your bottom into a squat position with your body weight in your heels. As you lower, reach forward with your arms and do a tickle motion toward your baby, but don't actually touch your baby, as this could put stress on your lower back. Do this for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat four times.
PEEK-A-BOO STROLLER CRUNCHES: Lie on your back next to the stroller facing your baby with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent at 90 degrees. Put your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows back. Squeeze your belly button to your spine and crunch up. As you come up, peek into your stroller, saying "Peek-a-boo" to your baby, and lower back down. Exhale as you come up, keeping your elbows back. 25 reps.
CARDIO DRILLS: Standing in front of the stroller, bend at the knees and push your hips back, running with your feet staying as low as possible. Run for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat four times.