No one said motherhood was easy, but if you’re struggling to get a quick workout in, here are some easy ways to exercise that get bub involved too. Exercising with your child is a great way to stay healthy while also still making time for those important bonding moments. Join our women’s health and pregnancy physiotherapist, Saba, as she runs through some great exercises for mums and bubs.
A professional women’s health physiotherapist curated these exercises, so they’re completely safe for mothers of newborn babies. These simple exercises will engage your whole body and can vary in intensity depending on your recovery from childbirth.
The best part is these exercises feel like playtime for your baby, so it’s a great way to keep bub entertained while still getting the personal benefit. You can start these exercises as early as six weeks after birth, just chase your doctor’s or pelvic physiotherapist’s approval before you commence any form of physical activity.
Join Us For Our Mum’s & Bubs Exercise Classes Every Wednesday
Be led by one of our professional physiotherapists through some great and safe exercises for new mums. This class is perfect for mothers of all abilities since it is run by a trained expert who will take your specific conditions into account and only give you exercises you’re comfortable with.
Classes every Wednesday at 10am – Contact us for availability.
Why Should You Workout With A Baby?
Postpartum exercises come with a list of benefits that include strengthening your core/abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, as well as boosting energy and maintaining fitness. There are also several mental benefits such as stress relief, sleep promotion and even a better relationship between mother and child.
Exercises To Avoid With A Baby
Not all exercises are safe to complete with or around a newborn child. A new mother should never engage in heavy weight lifting, jumping, HIT exercises or machine use while handling a newborn baby. Our physiotherapists highly recommend that people who have just recently given birth avoid said exercises altogether, even without their children near, until approved by their doctors.
It will take about 6-weeks after your postnatal check-up until you can exercise with or without a baby. It’s unlikely you will return to your previous activity level until three months after pregnancy. Make sure you have clearance from your physio before you start any strenuous activities.
Holding your baby or a light weight, place your legs shoulder-width apart and draw up your pelvic floor. Roll your shoulders back to they are not slouched forward. Keep your spine neutral, and make sure you’re not arching your back. This motion is also the best way to pick up your baby from the floor, so it instils good practices. Complete a few sets of 10 or to your comfort level. Squats are one of the best exercises you can do for recovery as they engage your entire body.
Keep your legs hip-width apart while holding your baby, or a light weight. Then, simply lift yourself to your tip-toes and lower back to your heels slowly. If you want a challenge, add a chest press to the end of each set by extending your arms outward (note, forehead kisses are essential to this part).
Rest your baby on your stomach area and slowly raise your knees until they are perpendicular to your hips. At the apex, hold and breathe for a few seconds, drawing your belly in. You can also make this exercise more intense by adding a few extra leg movements to each repetition. Toe taps and leg extensions help work your abdominal muscles as well as hip flexors. The slower you do these, the more intense the exercise is. This is one of our favourite mum and bub exercises because it is safe and keeps your newborn baby close to the ground. It is the perfect starting point for new mums who are returning to physical activity.
Hips & Core Exercises
For extra intensity, you can use a resistance band or ankle weights.
Leg Lifts On All Fours
Start by getting onto your knees and elbows. It’s safe to place your baby between your arms once you feel comfortable with the movement. From your starting pose, simply straighten one leg back, trying to keep your back straight while doing so. If you want a challenge, you can raise the opposite arm in tandem.
Place your knees further back, just a little lower than your hips. Straighten your back and raise your pelvic floor. Try and find the spot that gives you a comfortable amount of tension in your abdominals. You don’t want to feel this pull on your back too much – if this is the case, rearrange your knee position until the tension is mostly in your stomach. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds for 3 sets. If you want more of a challenge, you can lift your feet off the ground or move onto a full plank. This is a great exercise for mums and bubs as its easy to give your child all of your attention.
In the same starting position as planks, lower your body gradually to the floor, then life back up. Aim for about 2-3 sets of 10. The closer your hands are together, the harder the exercise is. You can also do them on your feet for more of a challenge.
Sitting Lower-Back Stretch
While your baby is sitting in front of your lap, you can get a nice lower back stretch. Spread your legs out with your feet facing upwards. Place your palms on the floor and lean forward until you feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds or until uncomfortable.
In the same position as above, simply reach over to touch your feet. This will stretch your back and hamstrings out. Hold for about 30 seconds or until uncomfortable. Mum and bub stretches are important because your body will be used in different ways after childbirth. Different muscles will be engaged while your abdominals are weaker, and tension in the legs and back is common because of always carrying a baby around.
Get into a half kneel and lean forward until you can feel a pleasant pull in the front of your hip. You can keep your baby on your knee while doing this.
Crouched Lower-Back Stretch
On all fours, arch your back down, tilting your pelvis to the floor and hold for a few seconds. Then arch your back to the ceiling. From this position, move to the child pose and hold for 60 seconds.
Get A Custom Routine With BodyViva
You can work with our Women’s Health Physiotherapist, Saba, to figure out an exercise routine that is made custom for you.
If you want to engage with any mums and bubs exercises, we recommend booking a physiotherapy appointment first to promote a safe recovery.
If you want to book an appointment or join us for one of our Mums & Bubs classes, contact us today!