Exercising with Baby: Fun Workouts with your Baby

Exercising with baby is a fun and healthful way to spend time with your little one.  Many new moms complain that they don’t have time to fit in workouts.  When you incorporate your baby, you can make playtime work to your advantage.  There are many creative ways of exercising with baby.  Here are our favorite ideas:

Stretching:  After giving birth, you’ll want to resume exercise slowly.  The best way to begin the process is a solid stretching routine for a few days prior to formal exercise.  Your baby can be a fantastic part of your stretching motivation just by lying with you and looking adorable.  Try various yoga stretch moves like up dog or cobra, downward facing dog, straddle splits, sitting pike and stationary lunge and squat poses.

Dancing:  You and your baby will benefit from a dance party.  Babies usually love movement and a gentle bouncy dance may even elicit a first smile.  You can dance with your baby by holding her closely or even with her in a front carrier.  Be sure to support her head thoroughly and don’t do any large, jarring or abrasive moves.  Do put on some fun music and rock, sway and jam to the beat.

Walking/Jogging/Running:  Grab your all-terrain stroller and get moving by walking, jogging or running.  It will do you and your baby some good to get fresh air and enjoy a change of scenery.  Start by walking and gradually build-up to a jog or a run as your fitness level allows.  Also use the time to talk to your baby about what you are seeing – from nature, to cars, to people you meet along the way.

exercise with baby__1456417275_162.206.228.38Baby-Lifting:  Many common exercises you may do with weights can be performed with your baby as resistance.  Weighted squats and lunges and many upper body moves can be done holding your baby instead of free weights or bands.  Your baby can sit on your lap for resistance as you do sit-ups and a variety of other abdominal exercises.  Or try “flying” your baby in the air with her lying on your legs.

Biking:  Once your baby is able to sit up with assistance and hold her own head, you can bike with your baby in a baby seat attached to your bicycle.  Be sure both of you are wearing protective helmets and stay on safe paths away from traffic, sharp turns and other dangerous situations.  Cycling is great for the legs and the added weight of your baby will make your workout even harder.

Hiking:  With your baby in a front or back carrier, hiking trails are wonderful way to enjoy exercising with baby in nature.  Whether you have local access or take weekend excursions for hiking adventures, you can begin to instill a love of nature while burning calories and toning your muscles.  If you hike with your spouse, take turns carrying the baby so you both get the benefits.

Workout Routines:  Many gyms, community centers or fitness spots offer mommy-and-me workouts that are designed for you to exercise with your baby.  You’ll also get to meet other mothers with babies in your community while you learn some new moves you can practice at home.  Alternatively, you can buy workout DVDs that provide exercise routines you can do with your baby.

Tips and Reminders for Exercising with Baby:

  • Always make your baby’s safety the top priority.  If you are concerned that you may injure your baby, don’t take the risk.
  • Be sure you are cleared for exercise before you begin a new routine.  Typically doctors recommend resuming exercise at least 3 or 4 weeks postpartum for vaginal deliveries and longer for c-sections.
  • Workout when your baby is in a good mood. If your tot is cranky, chances are she won’t enjoy the stimulation and you’ll never complete your full workout.
  • If your baby is lying on the ground during your exercises, provide a soft, clean surface like a mat or blanket to keep her comfortable.

Have a great workout!