During my last post, I mentioned that one of the ways I get in some work, if not a complete workout is by carrying my 2 year old 20 lb daughter around the streets and subways of NYC rather than strolling her. The ERGO carrier centers the weight around your hips and thighs, the largest and strongest muscles of the body, and keeps the pressure off the shoulders and upper back. Mostly, I feel comfortable, feel the work, and get to chat with her while we walk around. It’s pretty fun, usually…until last week as I was stepping off a curb, I fell off my very comfortable Dansko clogs and into the street. I went DOWN, hard, while my baby was strapped to me. A mother’s instinct is pretty good, I fell on my right knee and hand, bruising both up quite effectively. My daughter received only a scrape on her finger and a good scare. We both sobbed for awhile, emoting all over the street. It was pretty scary.
Cut to two days later, and I’m in the fitness center at my normal Saturday time, trying to figure out what to do with a purple, yellow and grey knee and sore hand. My Squats and lunges are out of the question! This time I have 20 minutes before my son’s swim lesson, and 25 minutes after I drop him off to get in a workout, thanks to the 14th Street Y’s babysitting program. Here’s what I did this week.
Elliptical: 20 minutes.
I set the level up to 30, whereas I usually only do 25 max. I didn’t use the arm motion at all ( the bruise on my hand made that hurt a lot) and instead used the stronger resistance of the elliptical to really work the glutes and legs. I concentrated on that pilates scoop (bring the abs in and ‘tuck’ them under the ribcage), and also on clenching any muscles I could to get as much bang for the buck as possible. This was pretty hard, but easy on my knee. Yay.
(run upstairs to babysitting, grab and change son into swimming attire, drop him to swimming lesson.)
Magic Ring ‘push ups’:I start with the ‘magic ring’, or pilates circle. I place it against the wall and do a push up against the wall. The key is to keep the circle at chest level, keep the body very straight (no sagging in at the lower back), use that pilates scoop, and keep the ring as circular as you can. This gets the pectorals, upper back, triceps and biceps. Very effective.
This is a series of 5 exercises that really targets every abdominal muscle you have. I could explain, but it’s much better to watch it here. Good Stuff!
I decide to spend the last 10 minutes stretching. I do some Yoga poses, like downward dog, and child’s pose. I am careful with my knee!
Downward dog and child’s pose stretch hamstrings, back, glutes, and feel very restful. It’s a powerful way to end a workout and still feel focused and relaxed. This is good, because my son and I have a lunch and park date. It is Saturday, after all!
Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.