May 23, 2013
Most moms get out daily with their strollers, but few realize that it can be a great workout. Increase your stroll into a stride and you’ll get a cardio workout. Do exercises like stroller squats or lunges for your strength workout. You can even create your own gym outdoors, using benches and fences along your stroller walk.
Statistics show that 70 percent of moms are still unsatisfied with their bodies nine months after giving birth. Even those lucky few who take off all their pregnancy weight don’t necessarily regain the same body composition they had before pregnancy. Many new moms will take off the baby weight while losing muscle tone, so they have more fat, less muscle and aren’t as toned as they want to be. To increase your muscle mass and lose fat, you need to get a strength workout! That’s why Stroller Strides offers moms across the country a total-body workout, incorporating strength, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise.
If you don’t have a Stroller Strides class near you, try this workout on your own. Combining intervals of power walking and body-toning stations using your stroller and an exercise tube, this workout can be completed in just 30 minutes. So, get your baby and your stroller and let’s get started!
WARM-UP (3-5 MINUTES)
Start with an easy walk, gradually warming up your body and your muscles. The most common postural dysfunction when pushing a stroller is hunching forward, so be sure to keep your shoulders down and back throughout your walk. Don’t wait for the abs portion of the workout to draw in your belly button and engage that core!
STROLLER SQUAT (2 MINUTES)
The squat is one of the best exercises for the lower body. Stand behind your stroller with the brake off and your hands about shoulder-width apart on the handlebars. Your feet and knees should face forward with your legs about hips-width apart. Sit your bottom way back and put your weight in your heels. Push your stroller out in front of you as you squat down, and pull it back in as you lift yourself up to a standing position. When squatting back, keep your spine long and strong, with your upper body only slightly tilted forward. A common mistake during this exercise is to bend too much from the upper body, when it should be the lower body that is reaching back. For all of the strength “stations,” do three sets of approximately 10 to 15 repetitions.
STROLLER WALK (3 MINUTES)
Let’s do some interval training. Walk for 30 seconds as hard and fast as you can, then recover by slowing your pace a little for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence until your time is up.
REAR FLY (2 MINUTES)
All moms want their body back and that means that they need to focus on their back. For this exercise, park your stroller and take out your exercise tube. Stand with your legs hips-width apart and hold the tube taut in front of you, arms slightly bent. Using your upper-back and shoulder muscles, separate the handles and open through the chest. Do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
LUNGE WALKING (2 MINUTES)
The lunge is by far one of the most effective exercises a woman can do to tone and strengthen her lower body. It’s a compound exercise, which basically means it works a lot of muscles in just one move. A good lunge will effectively work your quadriceps (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs) and gluteus maximus (your bottom). This exercise will be part of your walk. Lunge walk by taking really long strides and lowering your upper body down until your front thigh is almost parallel to the ground. Your front knee should not go farther forward than your toes. Lower your body slowly and squeeze your thighs and glutes as you come back up.
POWER WALK (3 MINUTES)
Resume your walk using full, powerful strides. Keep your feet and knees facing forward and your body standing tall. Walk at a pace that is challenging. This isn’t meant to be a recovery.
BICEPS CURL (2 MINUTES)
Park your stroller and pull out your exercise tube. Stand on the tube with legs about hip-width apart. Keep your shoulders down and elbows at your sides. With palms facing up, do a biceps curl. Even when doing an arm movement, you want to keep your abs engaged. For an easier variation, curl one arm at a time. To make the exercise more challenging, curl both arms at once.
POWER WALK (3 MINUTES)
By now you should really be working. Keep your intensity high enough that you are a little out of breath, but not so high that you can’t sing to your baby.
TRICEPS TONER (2 MINUTES)
Park your baby and pull out your exercise tube. Stand firmly on one side of the tube. With the tube behind you, start with arms at a right angle. Use your triceps (the muscles at the back of the arm) to straighten your arms to full extension. Return to the starting position.
STROLLER CRUNCH (2 MINUTES)
Put your brake on and place a blanket in front of your stroller. Lay down directly in front of your stroller with your feet on either side of the wheel. With hands lightly behind head, draw your belly button in and contract your abdominals as you lift your shoulder blades a few inches off the ground. Exhale as you come up and inhale as you come down. Hold at the top of the movement for a moment, without pulling on your head. Your starting position should be where the abs start to engage; not at rest.
STRETCH (5 MINUTES)
Take time to stretch all the body parts we worked today. This is a great time to take your baby out of the stroller and stretch next to her! You’ve now finished a total-body workout that included strength, cardiovascular and flexibility exercises, all the while spending quality time with your baby.
Safety is number one. Always be careful of cars and the environment when exercising with your baby.
- Always keep your stroller a hand’s reach away from you if you’re working out next to your stroller.
- We recommend waiting at least six weeks after giving birth before starting this or any other kind of workout. Make sure to get your doctor’s clearance before starting any exercise program.
- Always make sure your stroller is stable, and never hang on or attach exercise tubing to the stroller.
What kind of stroller should I use?
Jogging strollers are recommended for working out because they tend to be easier to steer and maneuver for some of these exercises. You will see all types of strollers in our Stroller Strides classes, so don’t feel you have to miss out if you don’t have a jogging stroller. Pick a stroller that is easy to maneuver, easy to run with and is comfortable for your baby.
Lisa Druxman is “Chief Founding Mom” of Fit4Mom, the national franchise that offers Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby and Body Back. She is also an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and continuing education provider. She has been a guest on shows such as the Today Show, CNN and featured in publications including Self, Entrepreneur, Fit Pregnancy, and American Baby, among others. Lisa is author of L.E.A.N. Mommy and the host of Mom On A Mission, an online TV show aimed at raising healthy moms so that they can raise healthy kids in a healthy world.