By Rynette Tan & Louise Yow
For marathon runners, training helps to keep you in shape and prepares the body to take on the task of running long distance. Similarly, babywearing can be viewed as a sport that you can prepare and train your muscles for, to take on the extra load of carrying your child. It is very much like strength and endurance training.
As the child grows in size and weight, there will be more demands on the person’s body to carry a heavier load.
Here are 3 exercises that you can do to build up more strength to be able to carry your child for longer.
1. Half squats
Half squats help to train up your thigh and buttock muscles. These muscles help to take on the extra weight of the child as well as allow you to be able to carry the extra weight to walk around.
How to do the exercise:
- In standing position, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward.
- You can hold onto the kitchen sink or put your hands on your hips.
- Imagine you are going to sit down onto a chair, sit your bottom back, bend at the hips and stick your bottom out.
- When you look down at your feet, ensure your knees do not go past your toes. Also ensure that the weight is on your heels.
- Make sure your back is straight and that you are looking straight ahead. You should not be rounding your shoulders forward. Also take care not to round forward through your mid and upper back.
- Return to standing position.
2. Core activation
When we talk about core muscles, it usually refers to muscles that support the trunk to give us a stable base as we move our limbs to undertake a task. With babywearing, a lot of the weight is carried by the caregiver’s trunk/back/spine. Having a stronger core will allow the caregiver to take on the extra weight of the child, but also to support the body/trunk as the caregiver babywears and carries out their tasks.
How to do the exercise:
- Standing relaxed, be aware what your posture is like in this standing position. Now, gently tighten your stomach muscles by imagining your pants are tight and you are trying to pull the zip up.
- Hold the muscles tight while continuing to breathe in and out.
- Holding your tummy muscles in, lift up your right hand. Bring your left hand up while moving your right hand down to the side of your body. Then bring your right hand up while moving your left hand down.
- Continue to alternate lifting up your hands and finish 5 sets. Ensure your tummy muscles are activated throughout.
- Increase the number of sets you do as you get stronger.