Some mothers might want to take a break after giving birth, but there are also some who prefer to get their body back in shape.
For the latter, we’re here to help.
Personal trainer and sports management expert Alexa Towersey advises mothers to do only light-stretching and easy, low impact cardio after the first six weeks of giving birth. Vigorous sports like kickboxing, running, and weightlifting are of course out of the question.
Before we get in detail about the types of exercises, we also advise you to consult your doctor before starting any sort of new activity.
Now, let’s proceed:
1. Tummy exercise
It is not advisable to do vigorous tummy exercises after a pregnancy, as it might cause a tear. That’s not to say all tummy exercises are not allowed.
This exercise can be performed lying down, sitting, standing, or even on your hands and knees.
- Keep your lower back flat.
- Breathe out and draw your belly button back towards your spine. Your lower back shouldn’t flex or move.
- Hold this position and breathe lightly. Count to 10.
- Relax and repeat up to 10 times per set.
- Do 10 sets, as many times per day as you can.
2. Lower abdominal muscles exercise
To perform this exercise, do make sure that your abdominal muscles have healed.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor.
- Contract your abdominal muscles.
- Slowly slide your feet away from you, aiming to straighten both legs. The idea is to straighten the legs without arching your lower back.
- If your back starts to arch, stop and slide your feet back towards your bottom.
- Aim for 10 repetitions per set.
- Perform around 3 sets per session.
- As your lower abdominal muscles get stronger, you’ll be able to slide your feet further and further away.
3. Pelvic floor exercise
Childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles (which are placed between your tailbone and pubic bone). This can cause problems such as incontinence later in life. This exercise will help strengthen your muscles.
Once again, this can be performed lying down, sitting, or standing.
- Try to relax your abdominal muscles. Don’t bear down or hold your breath.
- Gradually squeeze and increase the tension until you have contracted the muscles as hard as you can.
- Release gently and slowly.
- Squeeze slowly and hold for between five and 10 seconds. Release slowly. Repeat 10 times.
- Perform quick, short and hard squeezes. Repeat 10 times.
- Squeeze, then clear your throat or cough lightly. Repeat three times.
- Aim for five or six sets each day.
4. Upper back exercises
Being in a slumping position is the norm for moms, especially if you’re breastfeeding. These exercise will help you stretch and move your upper back and neck.
- Sit up straight with your arms crossed over your chest. Twist to the left and then to the right. Repeat 10 times each way.
- Sit and link your hands behind your neck. Twist to the left and then to the right. Repeat 10 times each way.
- Sit and link both hands together in front of you. Take your arms up in front of you and above your head as far as you can. Hold for two or three seconds and then slowly lower your arms down again.
- Place one hand either side of a door frame and lean forward to stretch your chest. Exercises that work your pectoral muscles will help to strengthen your back.
- Sit and slowly turn your head to the left and then to the right. Slowly, tilt your head so you move your right ear down to the right shoulder and then your left ear down to your left shoulder.
Lastly, remember to do things at your own pace and always consult your physician!