Dara Duff-Bergeron: Sweaty Mummy


Cardio With Your Baby

Use What You've Got: A Baby & Some Legs!

Workouts with your little one are great! They are the ultimate in multitasking—cuddle time and you-time all bundled into one. Hello hamstrings, bye-bye mommy guilt! Here’s a how-to on getting your heart rate up and doing cardio at home with your little one in an infant carrier.

So what can you do with baby to blast pounds and tone those muscles? 

Cardio with the baby in a carrier is a no-brainer: walk! Many baby carriers hold tykes up to 30-40 pounds. The payoff for you? A well-fitted carrier is like a weight vest—it adds extra pounds to make you burn more calories and fat during your usual walks and errands.  Breathe deeply and pick up the pace. With 30 pounds on your back, you’ll feel your heart rate soar within just a few minutes and the average woman can burn an extra 40-50 calories for every 30 minutes of walking!

baby ergo carrier

FYI: This is the carrier I wore with my kids while teaching Belly Bootcamp classes, and which I recommend personally—it's called the Baby Ergo Carrier.

When heading out for a walk is impossible or you have only 5 minutes to burn a few extra calories, strap baby into her carrier and walk up and down your stairs.  Alternate walking up one stair at a time and walking up two stairs at a time.  Always come down one stair at a time, and keep one hand on the handrail—not to press on and make the stair climbing easier, but to keep that precious little person from tumbling down with you if you were to lose your footing.  Moving your own body weight plus that of your tyke's means a big payoff in a short bout of stair climbing.  If your day is very busy, consider aiming for four 5-minute stair workouts with baby. Simply blast a couple of favourite songs on the stereo and climb, climb, climb. Squeeze in 20 minutes of stair climbing over the course of a day with your little one and you've burnt approximately 250 calories, all without one foot on a cardio machine.

Remember, even with a smaller baby you've got a fair number of pounds on your back and shoulders when you strap him into the carrier. So keep your back safe!  Maintain proper posture: Keep your abdominal muscles contracted, your shoulders back and your eyes up. 

Here are a few more tips to help you keep baby comfortable while you exercise together:

  • Use a supportive front- or back-carrier, not a sling, so baby is well supported and her weight is evenly distributed across your torso.
  • Wait until baby is at least 6 weeks of age before doing exercises with her in a carrier, so she can adequately support her head.
  • When holding baby in your arms to perform a move, cross both arms over her body and grip tightly around her waist and under her arms.
  • Younger babies will prefer to face inward with one of your arms supporting the neck/head area, while older babies may enjoy facing outward (or riding in a back carry) and enjoying the chance of scenery as you move.
  • Check in with baby periodically to ensure she seems content; a pause or adjustment here or there will not significantly affect the quality of your workout and will make for a positive experience for both of you.

Turn off the Bowflex infomercial and use whatcha got—a kid and a set of legs. Ready, set, cardio!