It can be very difficult for anyone to find the time and energy to exercise on a regular basis. And for new parents it can be even more difficult. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion from looking after a newborn are two common problems that must be overcome. However, getting fit and keeping your mind active is essential if you want to have the strength and energy to properly look after and enjoy time with your baby.
Here are 5 ways new parents can get fit and keep their minds active. None of these exercises require going to the gym or investing in expensive equipment. They are all easy to do and require very little of your time.
1. Stroller Walking
One of the best forms of exercise is walking. Now that you have a baby, you can both get out and enjoy the fresh air. The only things you need are a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a decent baby stroller. There are also jogging strollers on the market if you want to jog or run. A thirty minute walk every day or every other day is a great way to get fit and keep your mind fresh. You'll also be able to enjoy spending time with your baby at the same time.
2. Exercise Ball Crunch
Mothers in particular will often need to strengthen and tighten their abdominal muscles after pregnancy. The exercise ball crunch is an exercise that helps to strengthen your abdomen. You will need to purchase an exercise ball if you do not have one already. To do the exercise:
- Lie down on the exercise ball. The ball should be positioned under your lower back.
- Put your hands in back of your head or you can crisscross them over your chest.
- As your lift your torso up off the exercise ball, contract your abs.
- As you are curling up, the exercise ball should remain stable and not roll.
- Lower back down onto the exercise ball and stretch your abs gently. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
3. Shadow Boxing
You can get a great cardiovascular workout through shadow boxing. Shadowboxing is great for developing rhythm, endurance and agility. The idea is to keep your feet moving and to throw punches at your invisible opponent. Punch at various angles and also mix in combination punches. For even more variety, you can incorporate kick boxing moves into your routine, alternating kicks with punches. To build up your cardiovascular endurance, incorporate longer sessions into your exercise routines.
4. Bottled Water Bicep Curls
Developing strong bicep muscles are also important for new parents. You can either purchase hand weights or use household items such as water-filled milk jugs or bottles of water as weights.
To perform bicep curls, it is important to use proper form. You can peforme them either from a seated (see video above) or standing position.
- Stand with your feet apart as wide as your hips.
- Hold a dumbbell or water bottle in each hand with palms face down (underhand grip).
- Your toes should be pointed forward and your knees bent slightly.
- Maintain good posture by tightening your abdominal muscles.
- Lift your weights or water bottles up to your shoulders through bending your elbows.
- Contract your bicep muscles for one second. Then bring your arms down into the starting position, slowly lowering the weights in the process.
- Repeat for as many reps and sets as you can.
5. Skipping Rope
This is another great way to strengthen muscles and burn calories with this fantastic cardiovascular workout. You will want to purchase an inexpensive jump rope at a sporting goods store. For proper form, keep you elbows in close to your sides and rotate the rope using your wrists and forearms instead of your shoulders. Jump one to two inches off the ground just above the rope. It may take some time at first to become coordinated and build up some endurance, but skipping rope is one of the best exercises there is for burning calories and strengthening muscles.