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5 Leap Year Cardio Challenges for Moms

In our bustling lives as moms, our hearts are the center of our emotions and the epicenter of our vitality. We're not just talking about getting our heart rates up; we're delving into the incredible dance between cardio exercise and the heart – both the physical and emotional. So, lace up those sneakers, grab your FIT4MOM buddies, and let's explore the uplifting benefits of cardio that go beyond the physical and touch the very soul of motherhood.

Cardio workouts are like a love letter to your physical heart. They enhance cardiovascular health, improving blood circulation and ensuring your heart stays strong and resilient. The FIT4MOM approach to cardio is all about finding your rhythm – be it a recess-like Strides 360 class, a heart-pounding run, a spirited HIIT session, or an invigorating Stroller Strides class. By engaging in regular cardio exercises, we not only boost our endurance but also nurture a heart that can power through the demands of motherhood.

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Sarah Holder, the FIT4MOM Instructor of the Year for 2023, shares that she loves cardio drills. She says, “I know how important heart health is to our long-term wellness as women and mothers. One of the best parts of our FIT4MOM array of programs is that there is a cardio component designed to meet any mom's needs. A mom's body can be very different from day to day, and we honor this at FIT4MOM.

Our moms appreciate knowing that they will always have the opportunity to strengthen their hearts with cardiovascular work and that it's okay for this to look and feel different in their current phase of motherhood. As a mom of 4, my cardio needs and interests have changed significantly over the past 9 years, making me feel good, too. This is long-term wellness!”

Let's talk about the emotional heart – the powerhouse of our feelings and resilience. Cardio workouts release endorphins, those magical mood-boosting chemicals that transform a challenging day into a triumph - but only if they have a fun factor and you enjoy the movement.

At FIT4MOM, we understand motherhood is a rollercoaster of emotions, and cardio is our secret weapon for maintaining balance. Whether it's a brisk jog, a dance party in the living room, or a heart-pumping Strides 360 class, cardio helps us shake off stress while keeping our physical and emotional hearts in sync with the joys of motherhood.

Sarah teaches for FIT4MOM SE Fairfield County, CT, and is very familiar with the benefits of cardio sessions for physical and emotional purposes. Sarah shares, “Cardio is a cornerstone in almost every FIT4MOM program, and this is where I see moms make some of their best connections. My favorite is when a good cardio drill from our stroller classes gets you face-to-face with your baby, singing, tickling, and doing peek-a-boo. This is when- despite lack of sleep, sick kids, or any number of mom life stressors- a mom is completely focused on her baby, her love shines through, and all the extraneous "stuff" melts away. Talk about being good for the heart!"

Celebrate the power of our hearts with this fun cardio workout focused on one of our favorite movements- LEAPING! The terms "leaping" and "jumping" are often used interchangeably, but at FIT4MOM, we say the jumps take off and land on 2 feet, while leaps have a cadence of one-two when landing. For example, you land on the right foot and then the left foot. Leaping often involves a more gradual push-off and landing, allowing for a smoother transition and reducing the sudden impact on joints. Plus, it can make you feel like a kid all over again!

Let's revel in the joy of movement by leaping into this leap year! Bonus: you can do these drills with or without a stroller!

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Start away from your stroller with your right side closest to it. Find strong posture by zipping your ribcage and standing tall. Soften your knees and take 4 Lateral Leaps to the right (towards the stroller) while counting out loud in English. Quickly walk or jog around the stroller to the other side. Repeat the Lateral Leap to continue with the right leg leading back to where you started while counting in Spanish. When you return to where you started, reverse by using the left leg towards the stroller.

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Start facing the stroller a reasonable distance away. Find strong posture by contracting your core and putting your shoulder blades into your back. Leap forward with the right leg leading. Then, step forward with your right foot, bend both knees, and lower into a lunge. Press through your front heel to return to standing. Repeat until you get to the stroller for a tickle. Turn around to repeat the same movement with the left leg leading.

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Start facing the stroller at a close distance. Find strong posture by rolling your shoulders up and down while lacing your rib cage together. Leap forward with the right foot leading and backward to return to your starting place. When you land, ensure your knees are soft and your tailbone shoots behind you for a slight squat position. Use ABCs to count reps as you engage with your little one.

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Start away from your stroller with your right side closest to it. Find strong posture by zipping the rib cage while softening your knees and lifting your chest. Lateral leap towards the stroller, landing with feet wider than before. Rotate into a lunge position by turning the body to the stroller. Give the kiddo a peek-a-boo before taking a large step back to where you started.

Cardio sessions with your FIT4MOM village is more than just physical exercise but also a heart-to-heart connection with yourself, your kiddos, and fellow moms. Sharing the highs and lows of motherhood during a workout creates a unique bond, reminding us that we're never alone in this journey.


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