Like most new mums my time is limited. It’s no surprise then that despite my best efforts, my post-baby fitness regime has fallen by the wayside. Apart from a handful of yoga classes and the odd swim, the only regular exercise I seem to be managing is my nightly stroll around the block with Baby Boo in the buggy. However, I’m still committed to kicking those final pregnancy kilos, which is why I’ve decided to double the benefits of my stroller excursions and incorporate exercise into the outing. For a nudge in the right direction I called on Catherine Williams, co-founder Pure Fitness. Here she shares five exercises you can do with your pusher…
Exercises to do with your stroller #1: Lunges
This is the ultimate leg-shaper. First, lock your stroller and then stand behind it with your hands on the handlebar, shoulder-width apart. Keep your hipbones aligned, core muscles engaged and your spine long and tall. Now lunge forward with one leg, pushing the stroller out in front of you. Your back knee, hip, shoulders and ear should be in a direct perpendicular line to the floor. Return to the standing position and lunge with the other leg. Repeat this eight to 15 times on one leg and then switch.
Exercises to do with your stroller #2: Walking lunge progression
Get into the same start position as the standard lunge, but this time unlock your stroller and step forward with your right foot. Now, as you start to rise up from the lunge, push a little off your left foot so the weight shifts to the right foot. Take the left foot straight through and out in front and put the foot down heel first. Now repeat by pressing gently off the rear right foot.
Exercises to do with your stroller #3: Squats
This exercise really works the butt and core, which is perfect for banishing those post-pregnancy bulges. Using the stroller for support, stand with your heels hip distance apart and your toes turned out a little. Keep the core muscles engaged and a nice strong spine. Now carefully bend your knees and hips as though you are going to sit down onto a low chair. You must keep your back straight and stay as upright as possible so keep looking ahead without bending your neck forward. Push your heels into the ground and engage your glutes to push back up to start position. Repeat this exercise 10-25 times, starting at 10 and increasing as you become fitter.
Exercises to do with your stroller #4: Hip abduction
This is a lovely progressive tweak to the squat and you can continue to use the stroller for balance. Get into the same start position as the squat and focus on keeping the big core muscles engaged so that you are balanced and strong. Sit back into the squat position and immediately as you start to rise up, push your weight onto the left leg and lift your right leg up off the ground and out to the side to a little below hip height. Your foot should be pointing frontwards and your anklebone facing the sky. Now, keeping control of your body, place your right foot back on the ground and repeat with the other side. Keep the movements slow and controlled.
Exercises to do with your stroller #5: Walking
This is harder than it looks. First of all, make sure your gait is right because if you get it wrong you can end up injuring yourself. The correct way is heel, ball of the foot, toes, in that order. It’s also important to brace your core muscles, especially if you are pushing a buggy with a baby, a nappy bag and shopping. At the same time (I said it was harder than it looks!) focus on sliding your shoulder blades together and down your back in a V shape. This will lift the chest and get your lungs working properly. Lastly, keep your back straight. A good way to do this is to position your head so that your earlobes are in line with your shoulders. And your workout is done!
Please consult your doctor before doing this, or any other workout.
Catherine Williams is a mum of two and the co-founder of Dubai-based fitness company PURE Fitness. If you would like to hear more from Catherine please RSVP for our latest free-to-attend seminar on June 11 at JustKidding Al Safa, where Catherine and PURE Fitness co-founder Elaine Luck will be hosting a Postnatal Health and Fitness Meet. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.