No excuse not to exercise: keeping fit while wearing your baby

by | Aug 13, 2020

Lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic means many more of us have to exercise at home now – and that can be a challenge with kids around. Potso Mpandawana has put together a programme so you can exercise while babywearing!

A lot of us have been home with the family and have had to make do, since the gyms are closed. So the next best thing is exercising at home with the kids around – which can be a challenge.

Relaxing of the restrictions to Level 3 have meant we can exercise outdoors at any time of the day, which means you can take walks with your little ones, push baby in the stroller or go for a jog or walk by yourself.

After many weeks of lockdown with the family, you probably want some time out to yourself, but this can also be viewed as a way or opportunity to create a stronger bond with your little one/s and instil the culture of a healthy active lifestyle. If you have a toddler you will know that it’s a case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’. Whatever Mommy or Daddy does, they also want to do it.

Our little ones watch us so much and want to be like us. Just yesterday I said to my baby, “squat,” and she did a baby squat and stood up. It was very cute indeed, but I was more than encouraged and felt a push to continue to be a good role model to her. It’s never too early to start.

With the rising numbers of obesity, we as parents/moms can help deal with this by training with our little humans. I see it as killing two birds with one stone: exercise time and bonding time.

These exercises are suitable for babies that can still fit in the carrier. Take special precaution if it’s the first time exercising with baby in the carrier. It’s also important to remember that you need to get clearance from your doctor before starting with any workout, especially if it’s soon after birth.

Here are some tips and guidelines:

  • Make sure that baby’s airways are always open.
  • Ensure their back and neck are supported. The carrier should be snug but not too tight so it doesn’t prevent baby from breathing.
  • When baby is in the carrier, they should not be so far forward that you can’t kiss them or see their face.
  • Baby’s head should be able to rest on your chest.
  • Know the weight and height limit that your carrier can hold, as this will ensure that both you and baby are safe and adhering to the safety instructions.
  • Temperature control. As you start working out both you and baby will get warm. Make sure baby isn’t wearing heavy clothes that will cause them to overheat and make them restless.
  • Hungry baby = unhappy baby. Feed baby atleast 20 to 30 minutes before the workout. Remember that while you are wearing baby, they are right there by the food source. So if they are hungry and can smell the liquid gold, but are not able to have some, your workout will be disturbed.

 

Now that we have covered the basics, what are the benefits of wearing your baby while exercising?

  • Bonding time with mom.
  • Teaches kids to be active from a young age.
  • Can help soothe baby.
  • You actually get a workout in.
  • Helps with baby’s development.
  • The extra weight helps you to develop resistance.

 

Exercise Program

Notes:

  • Please warm up. (e.g., Brisk walk in the garden)
  • Drink water.
  • Take breaks when you need to.
  • Don’t push yourself, and keep correct alignment during exercises.
  • Remember: You are awesome and you doing a great job.

 

Warm up:

  • Marching on the spot; 2 sets of 20 reps; Alternating leg curls (heels toward your glutes) 2 sets of 30 seconds each
  • Air squats; 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Shoulder rolls – front and back; 3 sets of 20 reps (10 front and 10 back)
  • Modified high knees; slow and controlled 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

Main session:

Squats: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Stand with your feet apart, make sure they are slightly wider than your shoulders. Squat down by bending hips back while allowing knees to bend forward, keeping back straight and knees pointed in the same direction as feet. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Squat up by extending knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.

Backward lunges: 3 sets of 10 each side

Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and the hands by the sides of the body. Take a step backward with the right leg and strike the floor behind the body with the right forefoot. As the right foot lands on the floor and stabilises, bend the left knee and lower the body down toward the floor. Pause when the left thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position by pushing off of the right rear foot and straightening out the left leg. Repeat on the other leg. Be sure to keep the upper body straight during the entire exercise.

Plié squats: 2-3 sets of 12- 15 repetitions

Stand with your feet apart, make sure they are slightly wider than your shoulders, point your toes out like a ballerina at about 45 degrees. Make sure you are comfortable and you have balance then gently lower yourself down, bending your knees and sitting back into a squat, keeping your back straight. Squeeze your glutes, then come back up and repeat.

If you need more balance and support, you can hold onto a couch, chair or door handle.

Bicep curls with dumbbells/water bottle filled with water: 3 sets of 15 curls each hand

Position two dumbbells to sides, palms facing out, arms straight. With elbows to sides, raise one dumbbell with palms facing up all the way to your shoulders. Lower to original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides.

Modified high knees/alternatively add in skipping but without the baby in the carrier: 3 sets 40 seconds to one minute

Lift right knee high just above hip while swinging left arm up and right arm back. Lower right leg gently to the floor and as it touches the ground, lift left leg up while pulling left arm back and right arm forward. Continue movement on opposite side, alternating quickly between sides.

Reminder: this is a low impact version and there should be no hopping or jumping involved.

Tricep kickback 3 sets of 12 reps each side

Grab a dumbbell with your right hand, place your left foot forward and your right foot back, bend your left knee and lean your torso forward. Raise your right elbow back, so that the upper arm is almost parallel to the floor, and kick back until your arm is fully extended. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Cooldown session

  • Light cardio or
  • Alternatively brisk walk for 10-15 minutess and don’t forget to stretch.

 

These are a few exercises that can help you with exercising while wearing your baby but remember just the action of wearing baby is a start and helps you learn to engage your core. Ensure that you have correct alignment and baby is safe in the carrier.

Do not wear your baby for more than an hour and if you feel lower back pain or pain elsewhere while exercising, please stop the workout. Remember these exercises can be done alone without baby in the carrier as well.

If you don’t manage to exercise today, then schedule it for the next day. And remember: you are doing a great job!

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