Keep it simple! Mommies just don’t have time for a lot of exercise drama. Moms-to-be and new moms want a simple, easy and effective way to get/stay in shape. So here’s a “cut through all the hype” recommendation that really will have moms shouting “Amen!”
We all know that what works for one person may not work as well for another, but then there are those tried and true methods that just plain work. Everyone has heard that walking is one of the most effective and beneficial forms of exercise. This is a fact. Everyone has also heard that weight training/resistance training builds muscle and muscle burns fat. The more muscle you have the more fat you burn at rest. This is also a fact. There are, however, strongly opinionated exercise enthusiasts and experts that will argue about the most advantageous way to achieve harder to measure goals like toned waist lines and rounder, firmer backsides.
Some say squat your way to a better bum. Others say jog until you get there. Still others will have you doing leg lifts until the cows come home with little to no results for many. What about the “saddle bags” and inner thighs? How does one even begin to touch those areas in an effectual way.
One word, ELLIPTICAL. The elliptical is an often over looked, often underutilized piece of exercise equipment, that if used properly could provide the best overall body work you can get. BUT first, you must use the right kind. All ellipticals are not created equal. When looking to incorporate the elliptical into your daily workout routine, consider using one that is sturdy and has a long stride. Make sure it has the arm apparatus to work the upper body. And name brands do matter in this case. Nautilus makes some of the best ellipticals manufactured.
Once you have access to this brilliant piece of equipment, USE IT! Cardio exercise can be safely implemented on a daily basis. Widely accepted guidelines call for at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 3-5 days a week, but it is safe to do every day if desired (resistance training on the other hand requires rest periods in between).
Now that you are using the elliptical, use it RIGHT to achieve your fitness goals. If pregnant, take it easy and put the elliptical on the lowest settings and do not exceed your target heart rate. Stop if you feel dizzy or faint and do not let your body get over heated. In other words do not over do it! Stay within a safe and comfortable range. Non-pregnant women, new moms for example, can push it a little harder (but still be safe). Increase the intensity of the level until it is challenging for your fitness level (once you dismount the machine your thighs will feel more toned). Try to use the arm apparatus as much as possible only dropping your arms to sip water and catch your breath (you will begin to see definition in your arms). Don’t just “pedal” forward during your work out. Take the time to backpedal for alternating intervals or back pedal half the time and pedal forward for the remainder of the time. This is harder than it sounds, for you will find that the longer you backpedal the more fatigued you will become, but if you stick with it you will feel your buns lifting and the saddle bags trimming away. Your abs will get quite a work out from the effort you are putting in to maintaining your balance, backpedaling and working your arms all at the same time. It is a sly way to throw in isometric/stabilizing ab work without really concentrating on ab work (try to keep an erect posture for best results).
Using the elliptical is a perfect way to maintain your athletic health while pregnant. It is also is a great overall, full body work out for someone seeking to get in shape. Best of all, it will help you increase your cardio endurance. You will find yourself less winded when participating in other exercises and you will begin to go longer and farther when working on the elliptical.
Start off slow and shoot for 15-20 minutes (if you have never used an elliptical before it could be shocking how intense the work can be). Work your way up gradually.
One more bonus of the elliptical is while you are getting a butt kicking cardio work out, you are not, however, wearing out your knees as you would jogging on treadmill or beating the pavement. Why? Because the elliptical’s gliding motion doesn’t not put pressure on the knees and hip joint. You can just glide your way to a healthier you. Plus, an elliptical burns from 1/3 up to double the amount of calories you would burn in the same amount of time brisk walking or moderately jogging at the same pace on a treadmill. Don’t believe it? Test it out. Your buns, abs and thighs will thank you.