5 Minute Exercise Routine for Moms
Sometimes as a new mom I don’t even have 5 minutes to myself. However, that doesn’t mean that exercise is non-existent in my life. Although I haven’t officially been back to the gym in the past 2 years since my little bambino was born (it’s always a thought), I’ve never been so active in my life! If you manage to get to the gym or a structured exercise program on a regular basis, congratulations and keep up the good work.
As a former personal trainer and even now as a naturopathic doctor, one of my ongoing challenges is convincing clients to move past the crippling ‘all or nothing approach’. This mentality can set you up for doing exactly…nothing because who has time to do it all? Exercising a bit each day, whenever you can get it in, can boost psychological and emotional wellbeing and build strength. This post is dedicated to the busy mom who could use a few tips on how to stay active despite the busy-ness of life. Here are 5 total body exercises that you can easily fit into your daily routine.
This is one exercise I routinely recommend to new moms to tighten the abdominal muscles that become stretched during pregnancy. However, if you have abdominal separation or diastasis recti, seek the guidance of a pelvic physiotherapist who can help you heal, as some exercises can make it worse. To do a plank, place your elbows on the ground aligned with your shoulders at 90 degrees. Extend your legs out behind you and plant your toes on the ground. Lift your torso and legs off the ground while keeping your toes and elbows anchored. Stay in this position for a minimum of 30 seconds. Take a break and repeat.
Squats activate and tone the largest muscle group, the buttocks all while using your core muscles to keep you in balance. Stand with your feet pointed forward, shoulder width apart and keep your chest up. Lower yourself as if you are about to sit on a chair while keeping your head up and shoulders back. Keep your back slightly arched in its normal curvature. Repeat for a set of 10 to 15 repetitions.
If you’re looking for way to tone and strengthen your body, look no further as push ups are a fantastic total body exercise that will challenge your abdominal and back muscles, triceps, chest, and shoulders. Clients would always groan when it was time to do push ups and rightfully so. A push up can be hard because it recruits so many of your muscles into action at the same time. To do a push up correctly, position your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart with your toes on the ground – this is plank position as mentioned above. From here you can lower yourself to the ground without touching the ground, by bending at your elbows and keeping your abdominal muscles contracted and back straight. If this is too challenging, keep your knees stationed and just lift and lower your torso. Do as many as you can; just be sure to do them correctly. One good push up is better than 5 poorly executed ones.
To perform chair dips stand in front of a chair and sit down on the edge of the seat with your hands placed behind your hips. To get into position, take a half step forward. Straighten your legs while you lift your buttocks off the seat. Contract your arm muscles but do not hyperextend the elbows or wing your arms out to the side while lifting yourself up from the chair. Lower your body down without sitting down and repeat. This exercise will work your arms, abdominal muscles and legs. Complete a set of 10 to 15.
Hamstring and Lower Back Stretch
Stretching your hamstrings and back is one of the most important stretches you can do, especially if you spend a lot of time seated at a desk for work. According to the World Health Organization, low back pain is a leading cause of disability in the world. Staying active and including stretches in your daily routine can help manage and minimize back pain. To complete a good lower back and hamstring stretch, start in an upright position. Bend forward at your hips, extend your arms to your feet and hold this position for at least a minute. Breathe deeply. If you feel light-headed, try performing this stretch while seated on the floor. Remember not to force your body into the stretch, but rather let your body gradually extend allowing for the gentle release of your hamstrings and lower back muscles.
I hope I’ve convinced you that there is really no excuse not to be active as there are many ways to include exercise into your daily routine. Just choose exercises that incorporate a few muscle groups at once so that you get better bang for your time.
~Dr. Olivia Rose N.D.