Tips from a personal trainer and yoga instructor

By Laurie Searie
yogaThese days we’re all so busy that it’s easy to put your work-out low on the priority list – especially if you are a new mom. You’ve got a lot more to balance than just your own schedule. But it’s important now more than ever to set a good example and stay fit and healthy for yourself and your kids. Here are some great exercises you can do while taking the little ones to the park. It’s mommy-tasking at its best and it’ll take you from post partum to party girl in no time, all while bonding with baby.

You don’t need fancy gym equipment and blasting music to know you are burning calories and toning. Use the park time and your little one as your gym.

It might not actually replace equipment and dumbbells but it will be a lot more fun for you and your baby.

Before heading out, take in a big breath, lifting the arms up and over the head. Interlace the fingers and stretch the palms up towards the sky, keeping the shoulders relaxed and the front and back body long. Laterally, stretch from side to side several times.

Take both hands to either side of the stroller and bring your right foot forward stretching your left leg. Hold for a few breaths before switching sides to stretch out the back of the legs.

Getting outdoors in the fresh air is important for you and baby. Cardio is important to burn calories, keep your heart healthy and lose the baby weight. Start walking for five minutes at a nice and easy pace, using the strong stroller push as your resistance and work upper arms. After five minutes, pick up the pace for 2 minutes. Keep building up that pace every two minutes until you reach 10 minutes. If you have a heart rate monitor like a Polar watch, you can keep time and pace with, that’ll work best. Repeat the 2-10 minute pace build up three times. See if you can push your last 2 minute pace up to a jog.
Have a cool down walk from 2-5 minutes. The whole walk should last about 40 minutes.
Little bursts of cardio always take your work out up a notch and burn extra calories. Throw a jump-rope in your baby bag. After every 10 minute interval, add 20-40 jumps or jumping jacks. If you are waiting at a cross walk, add a lunge for 5 pulses to each leg.

Bench dips
Place your bum a few inches away from the park bench, with hands behind you and shoulder distance a part. Lower the bum until the arms get to 90 degrees. Do 8-12 repetitions, 3 times.
If you are feeling really strong, extend one leg forward and keep the opposite leg at 90 degrees. Dip down for 8 then switch sides and repeat. This works the triceps, butt and thighs.

Baby Chest Press and cross
Take the feet open hip distance and grab your baby by the under arms. Reach your baby forward and bend the knees to 90 degrees. Bring your baby close to the heart and give her a kiss as you straighten the legs. Do this 8-12 repetitions. Switch it up by reaching her/him out to the left, then the right for 8-12 repetitions on each side. You can also do this lying on a bench.

Grap one of the monkey bars and hold the bar with your hands shoulder width a part. Bend the elbows and pull yourself up as much as you can and hold the position for 10-20 seconds. Repeat up to eight times if you can. This works the biceps, back and abs.

Swing Time
If your kid loves to swing, a good push a bunch of times will work the biceps and chest.

If you like to swing, stand right up on it and extend one foot forward. Holding the chains tight with your arms, push with your core and standing leg. Do 8-12 reps and switch sides.

Push ups
Take the tips of your toes to the edge of the swing and walk your palms forward until your body is in one long plank. You can use the bench too if the jungle gyms are otherwise occupied by kids. Add a baby smooch between each push up. Do about 12 half or full push-ups.

Ring around the rosy
If there are rings at your local park, grab a hold of them. Reach high and bring your knees in towards the chest to work the core. 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps will make you sore.

Slide lunge and reach
Gotta love the slide. Take your hands shoulder distance a part and hold on tight to the top of the slide. Keep your legs in a lunge position. Imagine you are climbing up stairs. Use your biceps, core and legs to switch the lunge. Keep alternating one leg straight and one leg bent for about 30 seconds. Try 3 sets of 30 seconds.
You’ll be sore tomorrow.

Bleacher Step up
Step the right foot up to the first, second or third step. Lift the arms up and over the head. Take a big breath in and as you exhale, lift the opposite foot off the ground and bring it into the chest as you take the arms along the side of your body. Do 10-20, then turn and do the step up diagonally.
Switch sides. Try three sets of 10-20 forward and sideways.
If you feel really strong, add a jump up and jump down to a squat with the arms up and over the head.

Your kid has fun at the park and so can you. You might even inspire the other moms to get in shape.

Laurie Searle is a personal fitness trainer, yoga teacher and writer in Los Angeles. For more information you can email Laurie at