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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Strength Training with an Infant

Last weekend, I got outside and worked muscles that (apparently) haven't been used in a while. I thought I use those muscles every day, but given how sore I am three days later, I see I was wrong! How can you go through day-to-day activities without using your thighs and calves?! Clearly a round of strength training is in order.

Yard work with the Boy Scouts. 

The tree lot after we were done - the boys put the shelter up as well.

The day began at 8 a.m. with the boys lines up two-by-two and taking 150 trees off a trailer. They sell the trees to help fund summer camp for boys who want to go, but don't have the money. Fortunately, 30 boys and a dozen adults makes the load light!

Some of the scouts at a typical meeting.
I couldn't help with the trees because, as usual, I was hauling an extra 20 pounds in the form of a baby in a sling. There was a lot of work to be done with the trees, but I wasn't part of that, so it's really a post best left for  my other blog. The important thing to know is that we didn't have all the help on the rakes until about an hour later.

There were several adults waiting alongside me for the trees to finish up, so we decided to grab rakes and get to it. We had three church yards to rake into piles, move the piles onto tarps, then empty the tarps out into a mulch pile that was two doors down. Clearly, all hands were eventually going to be needed!  Eventually some of the boys trickled our way and the work sped up. As I worked, the baby fell asleep in the sling, making the job "easier" because he wasn't trying to eat the end of the rake handle!

A few tried (unsuccessfully) to hide in the leaf pile.
It can be tricky to work with a slung baby, but people all over the world sling their babies in various ways and they manage, so why can't we? It is an important part of my Grow-With-Me Fitness System*. With the right type of sling, the risk of Baby falling out is pretty slim, but it is the very part of keeping the baby upright that gives great strength training to those legs! 

Water bottle on the ground (you are drinking water, right?) You have to do squats to pick it up.
Baby getting fussy? Bounce on the balls of your feet to soothe her.
Baby's head is in the way of the rake handle? Switch sides and rake or sweep with your left hand uppermost instead of the right.

By the end of a day of raking, sweeping or changing out laundry, you'll have the hang of working with a slung baby, sore calves and thighs and a hungry belly. Go fill it up, you've earned it!

*The Grow-With-Me Fitness System

The only weight you'll need (unless you opted for the twin pack)

Slung baby - front "X" hold

This photo is grainy because it was taken outside by a 3 year old, but is a rarely-shot illustration of another sling carry. In this position, the baby is still safe and I can move about hands-free, but he is positioned to the side and his feet are tucked up inside of the sling. This position is good for nursing, naps (his, not mine!) and keeping warm.

The "weight" is safe in the sling, to a point - going completely upside-down would drop the baby out, of course. That means that standing toe touches are out.

Squats (or go half-way down into a chair-sit for an extra level of difficulty)

Lunges - accompanied by an older less-frequently used "weight"

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry I didn't see this till just now ... great post!