Confession: the idea of cardio, most of the time, feels like a chore. Unless I’m headed on the trail for a nice long run everything else just is, well, not on my list of top ways to workout. I’ve never been much of an elliptical, stationary bike or even treadmill kind of a girl. However, when you think outside of the box a little you can actually find some pretty fun ways to amp up your heart rate. Now that the weather is FINALLY getting a little nicer here in New England, being able to take my workouts outside is a happy change. Being able to also incorporate my daughter into my workouts is not only fun but an added challenge. These ladder drills, although demonstrated using a grid taped out onto the floor, can be done in a similar manner OR you can skip the grid and do these down the sidewalk! It’s such a fun way to get some fresh air and some cardio in at the same time.
The benefits of boosting your heart rate are a no brainer. Regular cardiovascular exercise is proven to help with weight loss (think getting back to that pre-baby weight), increases lung and heart strength (for keeping up with your busy little ones), increases bone density (which EVERY woman needs!), reduces stress (think of the effects of those sleepless nights) and even sets a positive example for your kids to stay active as they get older (YES!).
Like with any continuous exercise routine a little goes a long way. Once you get the “okay” by your physician to begin working out again you don’t need to sign up for a 10k the next day. Rather, take baby steps (no pun intended) and listen to what your body needs. I guarantee a little movement like these ladder drills will do the trick. If unfamiliar with movements such as these follow the images in order below for foot placement. As you become more comfortable with the steps the transition becomes a hop from one position to the next. And if just starting out, take your time and utilize your stroller for balance (be mindful not to put too much pressure on the handle), go at your own pace and begin with one move at a time. Once you’ve mastered it and need a change try the next one and so on. Most importantly, enjoy the time spent with your baby and have fun!