At-Home Exercises for Busy Mums
Like most of us busy, run-off-our-feet mums, exercise and ‘me-time’ is generally low on our list of priorities. But don’t you think it is important to take care of ourselves? Absolutely! We can all take care of ourselves without dropping the ball and here’s how…
Our expert Yoga, Pilates, and Pre and Postnatal InstructorLive instructor, Susan, is sharing her tips on how we can all incorporate simple exercises into our daily routines. Susan is a new mum, so trust us – she completely understands what it is like to be a busy mum.
Most women concentrate on cardio exercises to lose the baby pounds, but the secret is to concentrate 50% of your workout on core and flexibility, 25% resistance (i.e. lifting your body weight or using external weights) and the other 25% on cardio.
Here is a simple routine that you can incorporate into your busy day-to-day life as a mummy. It follows the percentage breakdown outlined above to help you achieve your goals, without having to take extra time out of your already time-poor day.
Brush Your Teeth Squats
This is a great one for toning buttocks and thighs.
Step 1: Stand with legs apart and bend the knees to a 90° angle, making sure the knees are stacked directly above the ankles and your stance is comfortable and stable.
Step 2: Then pulse up and down, effectively carrying out mini squats, whilst brushing your teeth.
Step 3: Do this for 30 seconds, take a short break and then repeat for another 2 sets.
Make a habit of doing this every time you brush your teeth and you will be on your way to a pert bottom and toned thighs.
Tinned Tomato Triceps
We work out our biceps and other upper body muscles by carrying and lifting our baby all day, but our triceps – aka the dreaded bingo wings – are forever haunting us. You can carry out this exercise whilst preparing a meal, e.g. when waiting for the water to boil or waiting for the milk to cool. Just follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Grab 2 cans of tinned tomatoes, or whatever is available, and hold one firmly in each hand.
Step 2: Standing with legs hip-width apart, knees off the lock, bring your arms up and over your head, with the elbows bent and your arms close to your ears.
Step 3: Then in a controlled fashion, straighten the elbows and then release back into the bent position.
Step 4: Repeat 8 times before resting and complete another 2 sets.
Feed Time Pilates
Generally, most of us sit in a chair opposite our baby’s highchair during our little ones feeding time. But did you know that these few minutes or sometimes long hours (depending on how quickly your bub gobbles up their meal) is the perfect opportunity to carry out Pilates-based exercises which will help to improve your core and pelvic floor? Here’s how:
Step 1: You start by rolling your shoulders up, round and down.
Step 2: Continue by locking your shoulder blades down into your back.
Step 3: Repeat this for 5 sets.
This should bring any slouching posture into an upright position. To train the muscles in your body to keep yourself in this position you need to engage in your core. To do this continue by:
Step 4: Pull your belly button in towards your spine and breathe out as hard as you can just so you know what your core feels like at 100% engagement, as everyone is different.
Step 5: Once you know how it feels, release the tension by 50% and again by another 50%. So your core should be around 25% engaged.
Step 6: Do the same with your pelvic floor muscles, squeeze them up as hard as you can, and release the tension down to 25% engagement.
Step 7: Continue by lifting both feet so they hover above the floor, and hold for around 30secs or when your baby has eaten 3 spoonfuls of food, and release while still keeping the core and pelvic floor engaged. Do this 5 times before you relax all muscles.
Step 8: Repeat the whole process for another 2 sets of 5, or until your baby has finished his/her food. To take it up a level, lift feet off the floor with knees straight.
Pram Push Jog
You’ve probably seen this one in the park already, but it is a great way to get your cardio session in, as well as making sure the baby gets out for some fresh air too!
When taking your baby out to the park in their pram, simply replace the fast-paced walk with a jog. Do this to and from the park at least once a day, every day, for a total of 20 mins. That is only 10 mins there and 10 mins back. Tip: Make sure you wear your trainers and a sports bra for extra comfort and support.
Sleep Time Stretches
When your baby is asleep take the opportunity to get in some relaxing stretches. Not only do these stretches help to shift water retention, but they are also great for post-pregnancy back pain.
Step 1: Stand with legs hip-width apart, knees just off the lock.
Step 2: Bring both arms up so the fingers are pointing towards the ceiling and elbows are straight.
Step 3: Reach your hands up towards the sky as far as you can, without tiptoeing.
This should lengthen the whole of your body.
Step 4: While keeping your body lengthened, slide your shoulder blades down into your back. So your shoulders are away from your ears.
Step 5: Lean back so you get a nice arch through the back, and also receive a nice abdominal stretch.
Step 6: Keeping the arms as they are, tip forward to touch your toes, making sure you stretch out from the waist and the movement is controlled (do not worry if you cannot touch your toes, just make sure your legs are straight and you can feel a stretch run up the back of the legs).
Step 7: Then relax and let your body hang heavy in front of your legs, let the blood rush to the head, roll up slowly to standing and repeat 3 times.
Step 1: Standing, take the right foot and place it in front of the left, keeping the feet close together.
Step 2: Lift the right arm, stretch it up as far as you can towards the ceiling, slide the shoulder blade down, and tip the body to the side (bending left). You should feel a nice stretch running up the side of your body.
Step 3: Do the same on the other side and repeat 3 times on each side.
Step 1: Bring yourself down to the floor into a full arm plank. Shoulders should be stacked above the wrist, feet hip-width apart and tummy tucked in. Make sure your back does not sag and your bottom is not up in the air.
Step 2: To tone, hold for 5 seconds, then push your bottom up into the air, keeping your feet and hands exactly as they are so you are in an upside-down V position (down dog position).
Step 3: Then walk your feet on the spot for 30 seconds, making sure you aim your heels to the floor when you do.
Step 4: Repeat the whole process 3 times before you take a break and do another 2 sets.
This is great for lengthening the calf muscles and hamstrings, toning arms, core and also shifting water retention.