If you are a new mother, “getting in shape again” must top your list of things to do. Six weeks after a normal delivery (eight weeks for Caesarean section), most doctors say that the new mom can hit the exercise trail, but the roadblock usually is how to make time for it and where to leave the baby.
Stroller Fitness, a popular post-natal workout in the US, can work wonders. This fitness routine has been brought to Bangalore by fitness expert Wanitha Ashok, who is scheduled to conduct classes on weekdays and weekends at Moming, a retail space, play area and café for new moms.
“Most new moms neglect getting back in shape because they feel guilty about leaving their baby,” says Ashok, a prenatal and post-natal workout expert and certified aerobic instructor from the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (Affa). According to her, Stroller Fitness is the ideal routine for them as they can exercise using the stroller as a fitness machine and have the baby with them all the time while they kick and stretch their way into shape.
Developed as a one-hour workout, Stroller Fitness combines all the components of an exercise routine. “If done the right way, this workout can burn 350 calories an hour,” says Ashok. However, she adds that before you start exercising, get a go-ahead from your doctor and do this only under the supervision of a trained fitness instructor.
Apart from knocking off the flab, this workout also gives you a chance to bond with your baby. “The mother faces the baby while doing some exercises, claps for the child during others and also lifts the baby during weight training!” she says. “The preferred music for the classes are nursery rhymes.”
How it works
A typical Stroller Fitness session is divided into three components: cardio, strength training and stretching. The workout starts with a warm-up and cardio circuit, where the mother can push the stroller around while doing some mild movements. Weight training follows next with the mother standing in front of, or next to, the baby and working with weights. Some steps in the weight training module also involve lifting your baby. “This is a compound exercise and very good for working your biceps,” says Ashok. Next come stretching or flexibility workouts that focus on the core muscles. Ashok also makes her class do Kegels, an exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles.
Fitness levels are not exactly up to the mark post-delivery and several women are hesitant about starting a vigorous exercise routine. This is where Stroller Fitness scores the most. A low impact exercise routine (Ashok begins the initial classes with 30-minute sessions), this is a gentle way to ease a new mom back into the fitness mode, says our model and second-time mom, entrepreneur Bhavana Anegundi who is taking these classes. Other advantages include an increase in flexibility and improved cardio and lung conditioning.
The exercises can be done with your newborn strapped in the stroller from the time the child is two or three months old till the age of one. If you breastfeed your child, make sure that you have fed the baby before you start the routine as mother’s milk becomes salty for a while after a workout.
The workout has to be done on an even surface. All you need to follow this routine is a sturdy stroller with easily movable wheels and your little one. Enjoy getting back in shape.
Where to go
Stroller Fitness classes are scheduled to be conducted by Wanitha Ashok at Moming, Basavangudi, Bangalore. For details, call 080-41666614
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