When squatting back, keep your spine long and strong, with upper body only slightly tilted forward. A common mistake during this exercise is to do too much forward bend from the upper body when it should be the lower body that is reaching back. Ladies, it's not pretty but imagine reaching your bottom back to hover over a toilet and I guarantee you perfect form.
Advanced Option: Single Leg Squat. If you're feeling strong, try adding this more advanced option. Body position is the same, Except that you slightly lift one foot off the ground. You will not be able to go as low simply because your knees can't handle the weight (of any body, not just yours). Again, focus on bringing your bottom back rather then just down.
Stroller Walk (3 minutes) - Sit into your stride a little and get those thighs working. Be careful not to let the stroller pull your posture forward. Do any of your walking stretches go down hill? If so, always use the safety strap on your stroller. Going down hill can still be a workout.
Squat Plie (2 minutes) - Yes, it's another squat. This one uses lots of inner thigh muscles (adductors). Stand behind stroller with legs wide, feet and knees angled out. Lower your upper body until thighs come close to parallel with the ground. You know your stance is wide enough if your knees are directly over your ankles. If your knees go past your ankles towards your toes, your stance is too narrow and you should step wider. Lower down and squeeze your bottom and thighs up. Both directions are important so stay slow and controlled.
Stroller Walk (3 minutes) - Let's do some interval training. Walk for 30 seconds as hard and fast as you can and then recover for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence until your time is up.
Calf Raises (3 minutes) - An often neglected body part are our calves. But let's face it, nicely sculpted calves look pretty good when you're wearing shorts or a skirt. Park your baby on a side walk so that the handlebars are facing the street. Obviously, park where there are not cars driving by. A residential sidewalk or park sidewalk usually works great. Stand on the edge of the curb with the balls of your feet on the curb and your heels hanging off the edge. You are holding the handlebars just enough for balance. You don't want to hang on that stroller. Start with feet and knees facing forward. Drop your heels down and squeeze your calves to bring up yourself back up. Do one set.
Advanced Option: For your second set, bring one foot behind the other ankle. You will do the same exercise, but this time it just uses one leg and it has to carry the weight of the other leg. It should be much harder. Do a set and repeat on the other side.
Cool Down and Stretch (5 minutes) - Walk your baby until your heart rate and breath return to rest. Stretch all of the muscles we worked. The stroller is a great tool for stretching. Just be sure never to hang on it or put your weight on it. Take some deep cleansing breaths at the end of your workout and finish with the most important stretch...a smile.
If you're like most new moms, pregnancy left you with more then a new baby. Pregnancy weight often rests on our hips and thighs so this workout should help to get you back to your pre-pregnancy figure.
This workout should take you about 30 minutes. You can combine it with an upper body workout for a longer session or mix and match. The most important part of your workout is consistency and listening to your body. Workouts for new moms should be stress-reducing not stress-promoting. So, buckle up that baby and start Stroller Striding.
Lisa Druxman, M.A., the creator of Stroller Strides, is a nationally recognized speaker, author and highly regarded expert in the field of pre and postnatal fitness.
Stroller Strides is a total fitness program for new moms that they can do with their babies. It includes power walking and intervals of body toning, using exercise tubing and the stroller. Taught by trained instructors, it's a great workout for any level of fitness. For information on classes or franchising, visit www.strollerstrides.com or call 866-348-4666.