|I was debating changing into gym pants just for|
the picture, but then decided to show things
as they really are...
So, while you are waiting for that magical hour where all kids are sleeping, the dishes are done and important e-mails replied to, here is what you can do:
Tone you armsLets start with the easiest one. You might have noticed: Spending most of your day with a 4-5kg package in your arms helps to build muscle. If you have a baby that likes to be (or should I say 'needs to be'?) carried all the time, just like my Timoté, see it from the positive side. As you'll get stronger, the weight will increase automatically. Perfect!
Awareness plays a big role to re-building and re-shaping your body. So, while you carry, pick up, lie down and burp your baby, always be aware of your posture, especially your shoulder girdle area. When you hunch down to pick up your baby from the crib, use not just your arms, but also employ your abdominals and strong back muscles. When you carry him/her, make sure you switch arms and sides to avoid posture imbalances. And always: Stand up tall and proud, gliding your shoulder blades down your back. Sit, stand and walk as if your Pilates teacher is watching you!
Wake up your absBefore you start thinking of the good old Hundred or a proper Series of Five, start thinking small. Strong abdominals don't necessarily show in the form of a six-pack, but rather in good posture, and a well-supported spine. If you've practiced Pilates before, remember your basic core activation and warm-up exercises, and make them part of your everyday life. Practice transverse breathing while lying down in bed, do the clam while breastfeeding in the morning... Pull your abdominals 'in and up' while you push the stroller, sit up a bit taller and lengthen your spine while writing e-mails or sitting in the bus... There are so many easy ways to integrate Pilates basics into your everyday life – it doesn't always have to be a full 60-minute workout. It's important to give your body time to rebuild, especially in the first weeks after delivery, so these 'little' exercises will help prepare you for longer and more challenging sessions in the future.
Shape up your legs and bootyI don't know about you, but I've been walking loads in the last few weeks. I guess this has to do with the fact that Timo doesn't like it much if I stand still, so walk'n'carry is the motto of the day. Just like the arms, I find it's almost automatic to work your legs when you have a baby. And if you feel good and fit, why not add squats and lunges to your daily carrying activities? It makes me feel a whole lot better and baby loves it too! Other exercises, such as the clam or leg lifts can be worked in while feeding sideways, lying in bed. Try it out and let me know if you come up with a move you'd like to share. For balance and stability I recommend standing on one leg while brushing your teeth, adding small squats. (Better do this without baby in arm, though ;-)
And by the way... while I wrote this, I've successfully completed a non negligible amount of pelvic floor strengthening kegels!