Many women aim to get back in shape after pregnancy. More than a want, being able to return to their pre-baby body is something new mothers need for their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. If you wish to bounce back after bringing your baby into this world, stick to methods that your doctor has approved. Besides body shaping spa services, you need to find a safe and effective workout while your body is still recovering.
This article will teach you the basics of postnatal exercises and five great workouts you can try to get back into shape.
Postnatal Exercises: Basic Guidelines
Exercise is an important part of your health and wellbeing. While the ideal workout or activity varies depending on an individual’s body and unique circumstances, having an average of 30 minutes of moderate-level intensity physical activity every day is recommended. However, this may be a bit too much for women who had just given birth. Considering that your body is still healing, you’ll want to get into the routine gradually.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends considering the type of pregnancy and delivery when deciding when to start a workout:
- For vaginal delivery and an overall healthy pregnancy, you can begin exercising when you feel that you’re ready, which could be as early as a week after childbirth. However, it’s perfectly normal to need to rest longer.
- For caesarean delivery or pregnancies that come with complications, your doctor or dedicated maternity service provider can help determine a safe timeline for you. Generally, you’ll have to wait several weeks before you enter (or return to) an exercise program.
As a rule of thumb, new mothers are advised not to rush into things, especially working out. What your body needs most now is rest, so don’t feel guilty if you need a bit more time before heading back into the gym.
Once your doctor agrees that you’re ready to begin exercising again, you’ll have to select a safe and effective routine that will work with your new schedule as a mom.
In most cases, this entails low-impact aerobic activities like walking for about 20 to 30 minutes daily. From there, you can gradually add 10 minutes of postpartum exercises that focus on strengthening your abdominal muscles and other muscle groups you want to work on.
If you ever feel like 20 minutes of exercise is too much, you can always scale back to ten to 15 minutes twice a day.
5 Safe and Effective Workouts for New Mommies
No matter how badly you feel about your current shape, never rush into a workout routine that promises to return your pre-pregnancy body. It’s okay to need more time – everyone who has gone through what you have understands this.
Besides patience and realistic goals, what you need right now are these five safe and effective exercises:
1. Abdominal Contraction with Deep Breathing
Deep breathing and abdominal contraction can be performed as early as one hour after childbirth. This routine helps relax your muscles and prepares the abs and belly for strengthening and toning.
How to Do It: In an upright seated position, start breathing deeply. Draw air from your diaphragm upward. Contract your abs and hold it tight while inhaling, then relax and release it with an exhale. Gradually increase the time you hold your abs.
2. Head and Shoulder Lifts and Curl-ups
These movements boost your back muscle strength, tone the abs, and burn calories simultaneously. You can add these movements to your routine one at a time, starting with head lifts. Move on to shoulder lifts once you’ve accomplished ten repetitions with ease. Then, if you can do ten of those without any trouble, it’s time to add some curl-ups.
How to Do It:
- Head Lifts: While lying on your back, place your arms on the sides. Keep your lower back flush and your feet flat on the floor, with knees bent. Relax your tummy while inhaling, then slowly lift your head and neck off the floor as you exhale. As you inhale again, bring your head slowly back down and repeat.
- Shoulder Lifts: Start with the same position as head lifts, adding your shoulders to the lifting movement as you exhale. Reach with your arms and hands towards your knees. If you feel any strain on your neck, fold your hands behind your head, but avoid pulling on your neck.
- Curl-ups: Beginning at the same position on the floor, lift your torso until it’s halfway closer to your knees. Hold this position for two to five seconds before slowly lowering it back down.
3. Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt exercise performed a few times every day can help strengthen your abdominal muscles.
How to Do It: While lying flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent, tighten your abdominal muscles, and bend your pelvis up slightly. Stay in this position for ten seconds and repeat the movement five times. As you feel more comfortable doing this, work your way up to ten to 20 reps.
The kegels exercise can help tone the muscles on your pelvic floor, which supports the bladder, uterus, small intestine, and rectum. When done regularly, this workout can also aid in reducing the risk of incontinence. The more kegels you can do, the better you can control those leaks that may occur when sneezing, coughing, or picking up the baby.
How to Do It: Imagine that you’re contracting the muscles responsible for controlling urine flow. Hold your pelvic floor muscles in this position (like you’re stopping urine midstream) for ten seconds. Alternate between relaxing and contracting the muscles every ten seconds for ten repetitions three times a day. Don’t perform kegels while urinating.
5. Yoga (Happy Baby Pose)
Yoga is another safe exercise that promotes a healthy mind and body. If your pelvic muscles can feel tight and painful after childbirth, try the happy baby yoga pose to relax and stretch them gently.
How to Do It: Lay on your back with your knees close to your chest and open slightly wider than your hips. Keep your arms inside your knees while holding your ankles or feet outside. The idea is to imagine like you’re a baby playing with her feet. With your knees bent, position yourself so that your feet are faced upward. Then, gently pull it down to the surface. While lowering your knees, relax your pelvic muscles and hold the pose for roughly 90 seconds.
Get Fit the Right Way
After pregnancy, you shouldn’t force yourself to lose weight and get your pre-baby body back right away. Be gentle and slow down. Your body has been through a significant change, and the only safe and effective way to get fit is to listen to what 5 Safe and Effective Post-Baby Body Workouts for New Mommies.