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Whether you are a new mom or multiple one already, the truth is, you are busy. So extremely busy sometimes, that you barely have time for yourself and even if you manage to squeeze ten minutes long precious break, you’ll rather enjoy your coffee while it is still hot than taking out that yoga mat and doing a workout.
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The good news is:
Sneaking a cardio activity into your busy daily schedule isn’t that impossible as you might think.
You don’t have to go running 10 miles to get proper fat burner cardio (personally, I hate running lol). There is an activity, that does not require expensive membership, visiting a gym or looking for a babysitter while you work out.
Yes, it’s walking!
The easiest way how to lose pregnancy weight naturally. As a matter of fact, there is a study that shows walking is just as good as running in terms of health effects.
There is so much more to it than just a weight loss.
Walking outside helps you to fight the postpartum blues by reducing your stress levels. In fact, walking an hour a day can work wonders for you! It has an amazingly positive impact on your cardiovascular system, as it reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure or stroke.
I just love spending time outside with my kids, enjoying the peacefulness of nature.
There is so much more to exploring nature with your family than sitting at home staring at TV/phone/tablet – you name it.
Besides, you never get to see so much of your neighborhood as when you have a baby. I’ve been living in a small town for almost 8 years and I never knew we are surrounded by such amazing nature – until I had kids.
So what are you waiting for?
Your baby needs some fresh air, and so do you. Put your trainers on, pop the baby in a stroller or a carrier and get out for some cardio!
First of all, before doing any exercise after birth, you should get a green light from your doctor. Especially, after C-section. When your doctor gives you OK, you can start with a short, light walk as soon as you feel like it.
I had a vaginal delivery and didn’t have any major wounds or other problems, so I went for a walk about a week after birth. It was beautiful summer weather outside so I just could not resist 🙂
Remember to start easy, walk at a slow pace and stop immediately if you feel pain or exhaustion.
Try for example 15 minutes walk pushing a stroller around the block or in the park. If you feel fine, you can add 5 more minutes to your walking time the next day. As your psychical condition improves, you will naturally build up your walking time and intensity.
Aim to walk every day – your baby becomes your biggest motivation.
My son loves sleeping outside. Although he is not a huge stroller fan, so I carry him around in a carrier. He usually sleeps much longer outside compared to when he naps at home. Even if I have those lazy days or the weather is not so good, I force myself go out because of him. I know the fresh air will make him sleep better.
As with every other physical activity – consistency is the key.
If you really want to see results, try not to skip more than one day in a row. Being consistent is the best way to improve your metabolism which naturally leads to greater fat burn.
Pay attention to how you walk and try to keep your spine straight. The handle of your stroller should be at least the height of your waist or a bit higher for the best comfort.
If you decide for a walk with a baby carrier, make sure it is properly adjusted so you or your baby won’t get uncomfortable whilst walking. Walk dynamically, try to “feel” your movement and your breath. If you walk at the right speed for fat burn, you should start to feel warm after 15 minutes or so.
How much does it burn
Walking is a great way to get back into shape after pregnancy, but you need to understand how to do it the right way.
Leisure stroll at the shopping mall or around the block certainly burns some calories, but it won’t make your body to shed those extra baby pounds so easily.
To lose pregnancy weight walking, aim for a brisk walk in the duration of at least 30 minutes, ideally 1 hour. Your walking pace should be about 3,5 mph (this is a pace when you are still able to talk while walking but you need to catch the breath after a couple of sentences)
The total amount of calories burned during a brisk walk depends on your weight.
The more your body weights, the more calories it burns.
This means carrying your baby while walking makes you heavier, therefore you burn more calories! Yay!
According to Mayo Clinic, for a 130-pound person, walking briskly burns around 160 to 180 calories per hour. For a 200-pound person, brisk walk can burn up to 240 calories per hour.
A great way to keep track of your walking sessions and your progress is using a pedometer app to track your distance and pace. For me, keeping track of my physical activity is an awesome way to stay motivated. Having all your walking efforts written down and being able to compare days to see improvement makes you more confident about what you do for your body.
Add that extra burn
When you feel confident with your walking routine, you can start to slowly add some toning exercises to speed up the calorie burn and build yourself some nice, lean muscle. I usually do lunges and squats during my walking sessions.
If you are a super-introvert like me, you might find a bit awkward to do squats in front of other people passing by. I always try to find a quiet spot to do this part of my workout, as I feel much comfortable when no one is watching.
Find your “private spot” in a park or a forest – simply a place where you feel good and confident.
I have a few walking routes, usually involving forest, so I do my walking lunges whilst on a forest path.
My usual walking + toning workout looks somewhat like this:
- 15 min brisk walks until I get to the forest (also serves as a muscle warm up to prevent injuries)
- 3×15 walking lunges in the forest
- 15 min brisk walk
- 3×15 squats or standing leg raises (holding onto a tree)
- 15 min brisk walk
- 5 min leisure walk to cool down
- 5 min stretching
That put together is about an hour walk.
This way you get the most out of your baby walk – cardio and some toning as well. This particular workout is great when you practice baby-wearing as the extra weight of your baby makes your workout more intense. It is like holding a sandbag or a kettlebell whilst squatting!
I actually was not a big fan of baby-wearing back when my first son was born. But now, as a mother of two, I am so thankful for having the advantage of free hands!
After trying 3 different carriers I’ve decided to stick with ErgoBaby Omni 360 as for some unknown reason, my son kept fidgeting in those other two. I love wearing this carrier because it fits both of us perfectly. Even after a long walk or workout, I don’t feel the pressure on my shoulders or back.
If your baby is more of a stroller type, you might want to plan a less rough route – a pavement in a park for instance (as forest path can be a bit difficult for a stroller), There are many other ways how you can intensify your stroller walking. For example, if you live in an area with several hills, pushing a stroller up the hill is a great way to tone your butt and legs.
For an extra fat torching cardio workout, you can also try interval walking.
For this type of walking, choose a route with a flat surface. Begin with an easy light walk for 5 minutes to warm up the body. Continue with a moderate walk for another 5 min. Then switch to a speed walk and try to maintain as fast pace as possible for 3 minutes, then switch again to 5 min moderate walk until you can catch the breath. Aim for at least 5 speed walk intervals in 1 walking session – that’s about 45 min walking workout in total. Don’t forget to add 5 min easy walk to cool down and a few stretches at the very end of your session.
I’d love to share with you some tip to help you get the most out of your walking sessions apart from that calorie burn we all want and need 🙂 Over the years, walking with my kids became one of my favorite free time activity.
It clears my head, helps me to think and learn. It makes me happy!
- Put your phone away – we tend to check our phone all the time, or even read while walking. Try to put the phone away and just look around. Watch nature, listen to the sounds. Be like your child – unspoiled by technology – open your eyes and perceive the world around you. Youll enjoy the walking much more this way. You can check that pedometer and calorie counter app later on 🙂
- Exercise the brain – although I recommend putting the phone away, there is an exception to this though. Use it for learning! Of course, you can just put your favourite music on when walking. But you can also give your brain something to work on. Put your ear pods on and listen to educational podcasts, audiobooks, or learn a language! I usually listen to podcasts with internet marketing topics or I practice Spanish. I just looove multitasking! 🙂
- Explore – plan your routes to explore your surroundings. You never get to see more of your neighbourhood than when you are on maternity leave 🙂 Check the map and plan your daily walks. I have 4-5 routes to choose depending on weather, time, purpose (shopping route for instance) or equipment (stroller or carrier). Try to plan most of your walks in green areas, away from busy roads, with a point where you can stop, rest or feed your baby
Walking to lose weight IS possible
Moms, this is the ideal time for you to start! You have everything you need for this to happen – the time (baby’s nap time) and the means (a stroller to walk with)! No gym membership, no fancy sports clothes, no babysitter. Just get yourself, the baby and go.
If you combine every day walking with a healthy, balanced diet to nourish your body, you’ll be wearing those pre-pregnancy jeans in no time!
Did walking help you to lose weight? I would love to read your thoughts. Just drop me a comment below!