Post-natal exercise in a park for busy new Mums
Life for a new parent can be exceptionally busy and can feel somewhat chaotic at times. Sometimes it isn’t for lack of trying to exercise, it’s the limitations that come with trying to fit a workout into your already busy day that prevents you from getting your blood pumping. Coordinating schedules with working partners, not wanting to fork out for expensive memberships and sheer exhaustion at the end of the day can all stand in our way of putting our exercise regime first.
Many mums accidently miss the opportunities presented to them to work out alongside their baby at the park. There are heaps of simple, free and effective exercises that you can engage in, at just about any park in your local neighbourhood with either bub running around or in a buggy right next to you. Here are a few simple ideas (with post-natal points to note!) to spark your enthusiasm!
Lunges – use the steps on climbing frames to work your butt and thighs with deep lunges. Try alternating 15 reps on each leg, for 2 full minutes. Note – if you have any pelvic girdle pain, avoid single leg exercises such as this, switch for squats.
Sprints – use the perimeter of the park to run repetitions from one side to the other. Run/jog/power walk in short intervals, taking a short 15-second break in between each burst. 5-10 minutes of this will get your blood pumping and your heart rate up, offering a fantastic cardio workout. Note – only run when your pelvic floor and core is strong enough for you to do so and whilst it might feel fine to begin with, like any muscle the pelvic floor fatigues so keep a check on yourself over the course of your work-out. Run with caution new Mums!
Tricep dips – leaning backwards against the bottom of the slide, lower yourself to the ground, and lift up again without resting. Try reps of 10-15 dips at a time, but be warned – these burn, baby burn!
Push ups – using either the soft-fall ground surface we now find at most parks, or for a lower intensity workout, any small step or raised surface, fit as many push ups as you can into 60 seconds. If your baby is awake or is fussing for your attention, lay them down on a soft blanket while you carry out your push-ups over the top of them. Baby smiles can be the best motivation! Note – start from the knees and make sure it feels like your core is engaged whilst doing the push-up. If you have any bulging or doming of your tummy, modify them by doing them against a wall or by lowering just the head and shoulders to the ground rather than your whole torso. Make sure it always feels like your core is engaged in any exercise where you are horizontal.
Squats – take advantage of the swings or park bench and use their height to pull off some squats. Find a height to squat down to that is comfortable for your knees and pelvic floor and work up to a 90-degree bend at the knee. Be sure to keep your weight in the heels, and aim for repetitions of 10 to start with, building up as your strength improves.
Baby Lifts – You may receive a few strange looks, but your baby’s weight can be used in a great bicep curl for toning your upper arms. If your lovely little bundle is fast asleep (yeay!), simply swap out for your nappy bag (because we all know how heavy those things can be!)
Chin ups – an advanced move for the super strong, use monkey bars to tone your bicep and arm muscles by pulling your own body weight up and off the ground. For a lower intensity exercise, hold your body weight at an angle from the monkey bars and pull yourself into an upright position, or find a lower monkey bar and keep some weight through your feet.
No matter how busy your day, try to find ways of fitting in short workouts. Even if they are just a few minutes long and maybe at locations you may not have considered before. By using the equipment and space that you have available to you, you are able to get in a little exercise, all while your little one enjoys the fresh air and entertainment of watching the world go by from their buggy. Head to some of our favourite Manly based locations to try them out – Lagoon Reserve, Queenscliff, Manly Beachfront and Park and Little Manly Beach Park