Right now the role of exercise has taken an even higher priority. Not only are people stuck at home, so they have more time to spare. Secondly, mental health has taken a hit and many are struggling with a range of heightened emotions. Research keeps demonstrating that exercise can help to level out the emotional state and is imperative to copying at this time.
An area parents struggle with is finding the time to exercise - but there are ways to do exercise at home and no matter what age the kids are they can be a party to the activity. Not only is it a great bonding exercise but you are also being a role model in showing that exercise is important for mind and body….
Exercise also helps to increase the rate of postnatal recovery, improves muscle tone, circulation, digestion, mood, sleep patterns and so much more. (The list is endless)
As a result of CO-VID19 gyms and recreational centres have closed resulting in all needing to exercise at home or in their local park. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you need fancy equipment to get in a resistance workout. By creating a HIIT style workout you can get a whole body, sweat producing workout that can be changed daily to keep motivation high. Ours normally consists of 6-8 exercises. We do 40-45 sec of work and 15 sec rest- with 30 sec recovery at the end of each circuit.
For example a leg focused workout might look like this:
7 exercises: Knee up, Plank, glute bridge, donkey kick, fire extinguisher, grapevine and sumo squat pulse. 45 sec work, 15 sec rest=7:30 one circuit. (2 circuits =15 min, 4 circuits=30 min etc)
People are also struggling to get equipment because demand is high. The other day we saw a kettlebell advertised for $260…Just because you don’t have equipment or can’t buy at this time doesn’t mean you can’t do resistance workouts. Here are some ideas for creative ways to make your own equipment:
- An upside down saucepan can act as a mini step- use it to do toe taps, travelling pushups, around the world, knee up etc
- Filling an old cushion cover with triple bagged sand/potting mix can be a medicine ball substitute- lift above head, slams, press ups- chest, squats with hugging weight, sit up with weight, lunges etc
- Fill a backpack with those extra cans that you now have stockpiled- all sorts of weighted exercises can be done- walking lunges, squats, bicep curls, press, farmers walk, tricep extensions, jump over burpees
- A chair- tricep dips, step ups, mountain climbers
- A bucket filled with water- 1 L = about 1 kg
- Use chalk to draw an agility ladder - great for cardio speed work , jumping, quick feet
Including your children in your workout is also a possibility.
Written by Joanne Shepherd for bodyandsoul.com.au
Can’t find the time to exercise? Make your newborn, baby or toddler, part of your routine, says this mum and personal trainer.
One of the hardest things when you become a new mum is making time for you. Actually, in a way, it’s one of the more important things because if you don’t look after yourself then the rest doesn't function very well.
When you’re a brand new mum it’s important to get fresh air and get the main body systems working. It helps to increase the rate of postnatal recovery, improves muscle tone, circulation, digestion, mood, sleep patterns and so much more.
Once your doctor has cleared you to exercise there are a range of options. The opportunities are endless so depending on the age of your children here are some other ways to fit in some exercise with your little ones in tow.
Putting the baby in the stroller and doing a bench to bench workout
At your local park or equivalent, complete an exercise then walk to the next park bench and complete a set of the next exercise. An example could be as simple as the following: static lunge whilst holding the pram (10 each leg), Bear crawl across 10m up and back, incline push-up, sprint, tricep push up, squat pulse, mountain climbers. (At each bench perform 10 -15 reps).
Make the most out of your baby carrier
Most newborns love the Baby carrier. I remember days where the baby was strapped to me 24/7 which made it hard to get anything done. But by placing them in the carrier you can still do a workout. It is a great way to ease back into exercise and can be done anywhere or anytime. Examples of exercises that you can perform are walking lunges, sumo squats, torso twist and punch, the chair dip, hip-raisers, wall sit, standing donkey kick (leg raiser).
Postpartum the most important thing is to listen to your body, work from inside out and focus on core, pelvic tilts and Kegel exercises.
As the baby starts to become more aware of the surroundings and enjoy the time outside there are a number of extra options that you can include into your daily workout schedule. Setting a positive and healthy example from the beginning is so important. Remember monkey see monkey do!
You don’t need gym equipment to get you started - the stroller is a great option! You can include sit ups by keeping feet on the stroller and doing peek a boo, plank/reach and tap on either side of the stroller, side and back leg lift, squats to calf raisers, lunges, one leg flute bridge/lift, push-ups, knee lifts, back leg lift to front leg crunch.
A mat is another option where the little one can have tummy time or lay on their back kicking about while you perform a sequence of exercises. They particularly like the push up and planks as you can make it into a game. It is also a great bonding time as you have no other distractions and focus the attention on them (it also takes the pain of the exercise away.)
Examples of mat exercises are leg lifts, baby weight bridge hip thrusters, Russian twist with baby, superman, side plank, extended leg lift. Some higher intensity options include burpees, reverse crunch or high knees. Yoga and Pilates is also another good mat option to include the little one in.
As children grow into the next stage they like to mimic and feel part of the workout. This is great bonding time and is also demonstrating a positive and healthy role model.
A partner workout
This is a great way to get them to burn off some additional energy. Doing exercises like squat jumps, incline push-ups, burpees, sit up hi 10’s, plank and feet taps. Your child may even have some creative ideas of their own! Anything to get the body moving.
Park and playground equipment offer great exercise options including: pull ups on the monkey bars or leg hangs and lifts. The slide is a good tricep dip option. You can use a curved ladder to do incline push-ups or hanging row. The swing can be used to do a plank tuck or Bulgarian split squat.
The options are truly endless, but the benefits from working out with kids gives you the well-deserved time for you, great bonding time (they pick up on the positive vibes from you doing something for yourself), you are setting a positive lifelong example and it can benefit their muscular and motor skills at the same time. Realistically it is ourselves who put the barriers up to exercising once we have children. Remember ‘the first step is often the hardest’ and ‘where there is a will there is a way’.
Joanne Shepherd is a personal trainer and founder of Mummactiv