Best Exercises for New and Busy Moms from Best Exercises for New and Busy Moms
Best Exercises for New and Busy Moms
Best Exercises for New and Busy Moms
Getting back in shape after nine months of getting bigger is every woman’s goal. But the new duties of taking care of a baby take priority and leave little time for exercise. Rushing into an active lifestyle and resuming your previous workout routine is not the way to go. New moms should avoid jumping exercises at least 4 to 6 months after giving birth, Andrea Claassen, a new moms and a certified personal trainer at SaFire Training, who specializes in 30-minute workout sessions, says. Depending on whether they ran before and/or during the pregnancy, it may take as long to come back to it. You have the let the pelvic floor, the muscular base of the abdomen attached to the pelvis, heal. Don’t do high impact activities because the uterus and other organs also need time to repair, she adds.
New moms usually start the process of getting back in shape with pushups, according to Claassen. But modify the exercise at the beginning. Don’t go all the way to the floor, she adds. When you’ve mastered the basics, try moving pushups as an easy daily workout to tone up. Spread the arms and legs wide, do the push-up and then come back to a narrow position of the legs and arms. Do the exercise as you move across the floor and you will really feel the burn.
Bent over rows
You have to work the back, Claassen says. You’re breastfeeding every day which means you’re in a crunched position even more often than before you had a child, she adds. Poor posture will take a huge toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and even knees. You are guaranteed to feel the effects of that later in life, which come in the form of chronic back pain, fatigue, stiffness and headaches. Bent over rows engage the upper back, outer back, lats, and rear deltoids in one powerful motion.
Squats are usually the one of the first exercises doctors OK for new moms to do, Claassen says, probably because you’re squatting all the time now to pick your child up. The point of doing the exercise is to get the legs to do some of the work, she adds. Start with chair squats – a great exercise you can do at your desk – and put a pillow on it to ease into the move, after months of not doing it. It will also help you focus on proper form.
Bridges are also really good exercises to work the lower body, Claassen says. They are some of best functional exercises that target your glutes. Bridges are also excellent exercises for building and maintaining core strength. Trainers recommend them for the purpose of avoiding back strains, but not necessarily for treating them. The Yoga bridge pose, in particular, is an excellent way to stretch the front of your hips and open your chest.
“The core muscles seem to adapt rather quickly,” Claassen says. “However, you should still avoid planks for a few months. Do toe dips instead,” she adds. Lie on the floor and bend your knees at 90 degrees. The calves should be parallel to the floor. Lower one leg, moving only from the hip, and dip the toes toward to floor. Bring your leg to the starting position and repeat the same move with the other.
Heel slides are an effective exercise as they help you regain range of motion because you are stretching the muscles on top of your thigh, according to Claassen. Lie on the floor with your legs flat. Slowly slide your heels across the floor. Bring legs 90 degrees and keep lower back on the floor. Hold for a few seconds and return to starting position.
When you start doing this very effective core exercise, begin with side planks. “They are safer than regular ones because they don’t put as much pressure on the abs,” Claassen says. You can modify the exercise by dropping one knee. Also, regular face-down planks don’t work the weak muscle called the quadratus lumborum, the deepest abdominal muscle. It is key for preventing back pain.
You shouldn’t do high impact exercises to let the pelvic floor heel, so running is out of the question for several weeks. But you can do the next best thing – walk a lot. This is an effective low-impact way to lose the baby fat. “Walk as much as you can,” Claassen says. Push the stroller to ease into cardio and strength workout combinations, which are best for burning calories. “Later you can do intervals,” she adds. Walk fast for a minute, slow down and speed up again.
You have to wait about 12 weeks before starting lifting exercises, Claassen says. Shoulder press is one of the best exercises available for strengthening the pressing muscles. Start by sitting on a regular flat bench. You can do standing shoulder presses as well. When done correctly, they are effective for upper body strength and help protect the core and shoulders from injuries.
This is an effective exercise Claassen does on her “chest and triceps” days. Sit on a bench with back support. Hold the weights in front of you at chest level. Your hands should be facing your body. Bend your elbow. Raise the weights and rotate your palms so they are facing forward. Lift the weights above your head until your arms are fully extended.
Step-ups are part of Claassen’s “legs day.” This is a great lower body move. Step one foot up onto the chair or bench and then bring the other foot up. Lower back down, leading with the same foot. You can try holding a set of dumbbells down by your sides after several weeks. Eventually you can try a stair workout. “Do fast feet – 2 feet each step – to the top, then walk or jog back down,” Claassen says. This is your rest time. Go back up, but do walking lunges instead or fast feet again, but this time one foot each step.
Walking lunges are another exercise Claassen does when she works on her legs. Stand up straight and take an exaggerated step forward. Deliberately lower yourself down, flexing both knees at 90-degree angles. The knee out in front of your body should be in line with the ankle so as not to go over the toes. Slowly rise up and repeat with the other leg. Keep in mind that when the lower back is not neutral, it overarches and pinches the joints.
“Yoga is always great but a lot of new moms who haven’t done it before now love it because it’s the only time they get peace and quiet,” Claassen says. Bonus: A study has even shown that some poses – including the Standing Forward Bend, Triangle Pose, Downward facing Dog and the Camel Pose – make you smarter. A 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants' speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and use new information.