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Mom-Baby Fitness: Playful and Simple

by Sarah on November 5, 2010

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Your baby’s process of discovering the world – and itself in it – can look like a mix of physical comedy and yoga guru moves.  Evoking giggles and wonders as you watch.

  

I loved watching my children discover their hand, trying to figure out how to stop it from attacking their face and get it into the mouth where it seemed to do some good.

  

And then it was the foot with the wiggly toes.  Wow, foot in mouth – now you try that yoga move!

  

Some of my best baby and mom exercise was simply lying on the carpet mimicking, playing and doing my own stretches and calisthenics on the side.

  

Older siblings love joining in on this as well.  My daughter loved to lie next to her little brother, mirroring his motion and exclaiming, "Look at baby!"

    

  

Here are a few additional mom-baby fitness moves to try out: 

  

Stretching mixed with belly-blows 

  

Even now, my kids and I get into a belly-blow pseudo game of tag.  Trying to sneak up to each other, place our mouth against the tummy and blow on each other’s bellies making a most impolite sound (often known as a raspberry or farting noise).

  

Well, it started when they were babies. 

  

Before exercising, I would often straddle around my little one and kiss and blow on their belly as I leaned forward in a stretch.  They wiggled in utter delight.

  

Sit on the ground, your legs extended straight out in a straddle, as wide apart as you can go and stretch forward.  Extend your arms forward and trying to keep your back flat.  Come back to sitting up and then extend your torso over your left leg.  Then back to center and then over the right.

  

You can also do this with your legs together in front of you as you stretch forward.  Just rest your baby on your thighs.  (The limber ones among us may have to forego this version, just put your baby right next to your legs on the side).

  

Tummy crunches

  

Crunches are another great exercise to help bring your belly back into shape.  And these provide a great impromptu game of peek-a-boo.

  

Lie down on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground slightly apart.  Put babe leaning into your thighs, resting on your pelvis.  The trick is to get them somewhat nestled into your thighs.  (It takes a little adjusting to find a stable way to hold them on against your legs. 

If you feel your wee one is secure, you can put your hands behind your head as you do your crunches.  If you’re a little unsure, stretch your arms forward to hold them.

  

Now, slowly contract your abdominals, raising your upper back off the ground. And then slowly return back to the ground. 

  

Start small with these since you’re abdomen is still pretty weak from pregnancy.  Work up to a set of 10, and then two sets.  Eventually shoot for 30 at a time.

  

Squats with Embrace

  

You can call this baby-dancing with more formal steps.

  

Stand up, holding your baby close to your chest, legs shoulder width apart.  Step forward and bend your knees until your front thigh is almost parallel to the ground.

  

Step back to starting position and then step forward with the alternate leg.

  

Do 20 altogether, alternating legs.

  

Alternatives:

  

You can also step to the side and back, squatting each time.

  

Or just keep your feet in place and bend your knees together – just until you can’t see your toes beyond your knees.

  

Or step forward crossing slightly in front of the back leg, squat and then return to parallel feet.

  

And while your little one is lolling around on the ground, do a few sets of pushups on the side.  I do most of mine from my knees, my back flat and my butt tucked in.  Do a set of 15 with your hands shoulder width apart, a set with your hands close together and a set with your hands wide apart.  (Feel the different muscles?)

  

Try to go through 2 complete rounds of 3 sets in each position.

  

Combine these strength-building mom-baby fitness moves with 15 minutes on the treadmill or exercise bike.  And you can also take it outside with the rest of the family and a goodjogger’s stroller or baby carrier backpack for hiking.

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