Andrea Silva is back for this week’s blog post with advice for parents of preemies who want to work out but can’t get to the gym! This is her second post in a series about fitness for families coping with prematurity.
Ok – so my husband calls me a “gym snob”. I like ‘fancy’ treadmills. You know, the ones with the individual fans and personal TV to watch whatever program I want while I run, and weight machine options as far as the eye can see.
However, when my premature daughter came home on oxygen and a pulse ox machine I couldn’t (nor did I want to) simply drop her off at the neighbor’s house or hire a regular babysitter to take care of her while I lived gloriously at the gym for two hours five days a week like I used to before my pregnancy.
So what was a gym snob like me going to do since I was virtually homebound with a preemie? Here are some easy ways I worked out at home with no gym equipment that will work for anyone who’s home with a premature infant:
- Run up and down the stairs to elevate your heart rate and sneak in some exercise.
- Perform standing or walking lunges inside your house, outside in your driveway or backyard or even while you take your little one on a walk. I do walking lunges all the time while pushing my daughter in her stroller. Don’t worry about what the neighbors think – your heart, legs, and rear-end will thank you for it!
- Good old-fashioned sit-ups and push-ups are STILL a great way to use your own body weight to strengthen your muscles.
- Putting some canned goods in a durable reusable bag and using them as weights also works. I know – you have probably heard this one before and thought, “Who actually does that?!”…Well, rest assured. I have done it, it does work, and nobody ever knew I was lifting cans of tomatoes and soup.
- Many cable service providers offer free workout programs through your cable subscription (oftentimes through an “on-demand” option). You can generally (depending on your cable service provider) view these programs anytime that is convenient for you. The best part of these programs is that you can stop, rewind, or even pause the program at your will to attend to whatever may come up. I have worked out “with” some of the top trainers in America in the comfort of my own living room while keeping a close eye on my sleeping daughter!
So have I exchanged my “gym snob” days for home gym days for good? Well I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in over two years. This includes training for and running in three long distances races, including a marathon. I proved to even myself that you really don’t need fancy equipment to be active. You just have to make some time for it and be dedicated.
Remember to get cleared by your doctor before you start any type of exercise regime and make sure you are performing exercises with proper form.