Functional Fitness For New Moms

Pushing a Stroller

Strollers are an excellent way of getting baby around so mom doesn't have to carry him everywhere. However, most moms don't think about posture when pushing a stroller. One size does not fit all. The stroller should be tall enough that mom can walk with good form. You shouldn't need to bend down to hold handles and you should be able to take natural strides, even when running.

If you look at common posture when pushing the stroller you will see the head jutting forward, shoulders protracted and wrists in extension. Work on some postural awareness: Do a chin tuck to keep head evenly balanced over spine, retract shoulders when pushing and lead with the chest. Lastly, push stroller with wrists in neutral alignment. If you push a double stroller, alternate the children's seats regularly. Otherwise, you will always be pushing a weight that is heavier on one side, again leading to further muscular imbalance.

More: How to Exercise During Pregnancy

Car Seat Carrier

I'm not sure when they were invented but many moms were grateful at the invention of the car seat that doubles as a baby carrier. Yes, it's convenient. However, even the lightest baby becomes a heavy, unbalanced weight when in a car seat carrier. You see women all the time with their diaper bag on one shoulder and the car seat carrier dangling along side her laterally bent frame. You are not going to like these suggestions but your body will thank you.

First, switch sides regularly. Second, the best way for you to carry it is like a laundry basket, in the center of her body with both hands. I know you won't have hands to carry other items but it really is better for you! It's important to learn proper lifting techniques! For instance, center yourself in front of the car seat (if it's on the ground), bend your legs and brace your core when you lift. When baby is in the car, you should climb in to the car, and with knees bent, lift baby out of the car.

Most moms try to do it from standing alongside the car which carries the sheer and awkward weight of the car seat in their back. It's easier to lift the car seat from an already elevated position than from the ground so you should place the seat on a table or chair rather than the floor.

MoreCycling During Pregnancy?

Crib

Believe it or not, babies can sleep an average of 14 to 15 hours per day in their first year of life. Unfortunately for the parents, it's not in large sums of time. That means a lot of putting baby in and taking baby out of the crib. Think about the weight load on the spine when you (or your husband) holds baby away from the body and then lowers baby in the crib. And to make matters worse, you probably just nursed baby to sleep and will contort in any way so as not to wake baby up. There's really no easy way to do it, but there are better ways.

First, lower the rail on the crib. Almost all cribs have rails that lower for this purpose but most parents don't do it as it is one more step. Then, align your body next to the crib so you won't have to twist to lower baby or pick up baby. Brace your core and try to keep her spine in alignment as you lower or pick up baby.

MoreWhy Workout Should Change During Pregnancy

Recommendations for the postnatal client are becoming less stringent which is a good thing. Doctors and researchers are recognizing the benefits of exercise both during and after pregnancy. Be cautious that your interpretation of these guidelines is not to go right back to your old exercise routine. Much has changed in your body and just as much as changed in your life.

Your postnatal exercise program should consider your recovery from pregnancy, childbirth and the new role of motherhood. Functional fitness is all about training movement and not muscles. If the anatomical and environmental changes are not taken into account, your imbalance will last far beyond childbirth.

More: Pilates for Pregnancy

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About the Author

Lisa Druxman

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.

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