Monday, April 19, 2010

Exercising With Your Baby

Juggling a daily exercise routine with the responsibilities of motherhood is a difficult task for any woman looking to stay in shape without separating from her newborn. The daily responsibilities of mothering your baby alone can be challenging and tiring, and can leave any woman feeling overwhelmed at the thought of fitting in daily exercise. Fortunately, with the help of a few techniques, you (and your baby) can remain active during this special time.
The Benefits of Exercising with Your Baby
Exercising with your baby can be one of the most beneficial (and fun) activities for both you and your baby to enjoy. Daily exercise will give you and your baby a time to connect while keeping your baby calm and content as you benefit from:
• Reduced stress – You will sleep better at night with daily exercise
• Reduced risk of post partum depression
• Reduced risk of osteoporosis through strength training
• Improved self-esteem
• Increased stamina

Basic Exercises You Can Perform with Your Baby

When most women think about exercising with their baby, the concept of walking around the block pushing your baby in a stroller is usually the first that comes to mind. While that is great, there are a number of other exercises a mother can perform by using her baby as added weight to build muscle and improve endurance. These basic exercises, which you can perform in front of the television or to some music, include:

Baby squats – Cradle your baby against your body, slowly squat halfway to the floor and raise back up.
Baby lifts – Hold your baby under the arms, slowly and gently lift the baby off your chest and gently lower your baby back down.
Baby bends – Balance your baby on your thighs and slowly raise one knee at a time.
Baby crunches – Place your baby in a sitting or lying position across your tummy or chest and perform a regular crunch.
Baby lunges – Stand up straight and hold your baby against your chest in an infant carrier. Place your hands on your hips, take a large step forward with the right leg and bend at the knee with your foot on the floor. Lower your body straight down and rise back up to a standing position. Repeat movement with the left leg.

Cardiovascular Activities for You and Your Baby

As if the benefits of strength training with your baby were not enough, you can both take advantage of the various forms of cardiovascular activity. Cardiovascular activity burns calories and provides for a surge of energy that will help you keep up with your newborn. Try to incorporate any of the following activities into your daily schedule:
Walking with your baby– Use a baby sling or carrier to hold your baby while you walk instead of carrying hand weights.
Biking with your baby – Use a bike carrier and take your baby on a fun and exciting bike ride.
Dancing with your baby – Pop in your favorite CD, hold your baby in a sling or carrier and dance together.
Swimming with your baby –Join a fun swim exercise class with your baby.

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