On the go, on the cheap… there are tons of reasons to skip the gym (and the babysitter and the line-ups for treadmills and the creepy guy who keeps lifting his shirt to ‘wipe his face’ and show off his six-pack). Summer is an especially tempting time to forgo the gym altogether. But skipping the gym shouldn’t mean skipping your workouts!
There are tons of exercises you can do with little or no equipment. If you’re not so keen to spend an hour at the gym while the sun is shining outside, put baby in the stroller (or head out solo) and try these great moves from Belly Bootcamp, guaranteed to get your heart rate up and your muscles working:
- Push your stroller forward while lunging. Take a big step forward with your left foot into lunge position. Lift your right heel and bend both knees until your right knee is close to the ground. Press up and step forward with right leg to repeat. Do 10-20 lunges; try uphill for an extra challenge!
- Turn sideways and push your stroller with one hand (stroller faces forward, you face sideways). With your right hand pushing the stroller, step your right foot to the side until your feet are quite wide, like a sumo wrestler. Squat, then press up and step your left foot in next to the right. Repeat 10-20 times on the right, then 10-20 times facing the other direction and leading with your left foot. For an extra challenge, hold each squat in the bottom position for 1-3 counts before pressing back up.
- Try mini sprints to rev your heart rate and make a big impact on your metabolism for the rest of the day (translation: burn off more of that baby fat). As you walk, spot a tree, sign or building you’d like to aim for and sprint as quickly as you can to that point. Slow down toa walk or jog once you reach your goal, recover and – when you’re ready – pick your next target! Aim for 5-10 sprints.
- A picnic table, bench or other sturdy surface is perfect for push ups. Place your hands on the table or bench and hold your body in a straight line from your toes to your head. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the edge of the table, pause, then press up until arms are straight. Do 10-20 push ups – try a set with hands wide to focus on the muscles of the chest and back, then a set with hands right under the shoulders to tone the arms and shoulders.
- Try a birth squat burpee for full body toning! Find a patch of grass and turn the stroller so baby can see you. Squat down low, as in a birth squat, with bum below knees and heels flat on the ground. Place both hands directly in front of you on the ground and step both legs back (one at a time) into plank position. Hold for one count, squeezing your belly up toward your spine to activate your core. Step both feet back into your birth squat, hold for one count and press up to stand and say hello to baby! Repeat 8-10 times.
These moves can be performed 3-4 times per week, with one rest day in between each workout. Try one set of each exercise, then walk for a while and do one more set of each again. Make it interesting! Play around with the order, bring a friend along, try a new walking route or even do these exercises in your back yard for a quick 10-15 minute workout that delivers!
Asking questions has never caused a sore knee or pulled hamstring! If you have any questions about the advice above (or any exercise-related questions) please ask first, shoot later. Email me at dara(at)fitfamily(dot)ca or visit me at www.fitfamily.ca or www.bellybootcamp.ca for more information about exercise for pregnancy, postpartum and every stage of life. Be well!