This article was pulled from the June 2011 issue of “Walla Walla Lifestyles” from Walla Walla, Wash. (Yes, there is such a place!) I occasionally grab random magazines and flip through them; usually this happens in doctor’s offices or dentist waiting rooms. Occasionally I find something so interesting I want to share it, and this really rocked my socks. I’ve recently begun a diet that I followed closely and actually stuck with in the past, and I’d like to add some fun activities to my evening to-do list, as well, to get the pounds dropping off even faster. But with a toddler crawling all over me, it never occurs to me to try to exercise with her. Check out these ideas! (Credit goes to the YMCA.)
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Staying in shape when you’re a busy mom can be tough. Here are a few exercises you can do with your child that are great for you and fun for your tyke.
V-Sit rotations with child: Sit on the floor back-to-back with your child. Bend your knees, the centers of your kneecaps lined up with your hip joints and the second toes on your feet. Press your feet firmly into the floor to create stability through the legs and hips. Hold a medicine ball (small enough for junior to easily hold/carry it) in front of your chest; both parent and child should maintain tall, straight spines and engage the abdominal muscles throughout the exercise.
With the medicine ball, rotate left while the child rotates right and hand the medicine ball to the child, ensuring that he has a firm grip on the ball before releasing.
Have the child take it with a firm grip and rotate to her left while you rotate right in order to grab the ball on the other side.
Continue this rotation 8-10 times, then switch directions and repeat.
Push-ups with baby: Kneeling, place your baby on the floor. Slowly bend forward to place your palms flat on the floor, keeping hands shoulder-width apart and directly in line with your shoulders and your fingers facing forward. Stiffen your torso by contracting your core and abdominal muscles.
Slowly lower your body toward your baby while maintaining a solid torso and keeping your head aligned with your spine. Do not allow your low back to sag or your hips to rise upward during this downward phase. Continue to lower yourself until your elbows are in line with your shoulders and you can kiss your baby. Your elbows should either remain close to the sides of your body or flare outward slightly.
Press upward through your arms while maintaining a rigid torso and keeping your head aligned with your spine. Do not allow your low back to sag or your hips to rise. Continue pressing until the arms and fully extended at the elbows.
Squat with baby: Center your baby in the middle of your torso. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned slightly outward. Pull the shoulders back and down. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Hold your chest up and out, tilt your head slightly up, and center your weight evenly between the balls and heels of your feet while pushing your hips toward the wall behind you.
Shift your hips backward, then downward, to create a hinge-like movement at your hips and knees simultaneously. Do not let your knees go over your toes. Maintain tension in the core muscles and keep your back flat. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel with the floor, or until your torso begins to round or flex forward. Monitor your feet, ankles, and knees, ensuring your ankles do not collapse in or out and the knees remain aligned with the second toe.
The knees should continue to remain aligned over the second toes and body weight should be evenly distributed between the balls and heels of the feet. From the side, the position of the shinbone and torso should be parallel with each other and the low back should appear flat.
While maintaining your back, chest, and head-up position, exhale and extend the hips and knees by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso need to rise together while keeping the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned over the second toe. Continue extending your hips and knees until your reach your starting position.
Seated dip with child: Use a bench or chair sturdy enough to hold your body weight. Stand in front of the bench with your back to it. Place your hands on the bench with palms down and your knuckles facing forward. Hands should be shoulder-width apart. Your knees and your legs should be at a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Place your child on your lap.
Exhale slowly. Lower your body by bending at the elbow, keeping your back close to the bench. Your elbows should not point out away from the body as you lower yourself.
Begin to tighten the muscles in the backs of your arms as you push yourself back to the starting position. Inhale slowly through your nose as you straighten your arms.