Receiving your bundle of joy after giving birth is a happy moment for every mother. As you move into your routine, constants thoughts of health and fitness, “getting back into shape” will be nagging and getting rid of that tummy is an immediate to-do list. If you are among the mothers, who want to eat and laze around till when you feel comfortable to exercise and engage in a bulk workout, the idea is wrong. Simple postnatal exercises are the best way of starting to get back your shape.
Postnatal exercises hasten recovery, help in weight reduction, improve muscle strength, increase aerobic fitness, and improve your social interaction and psychological well-being through relieving stress and prevention of postpartum depression 2. However, before starting the postnatal, consulting a doctor or midwife is recommended.
Gentle Tummy Exercise
During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles are split in the middle. It is therefore important to make sure the muscles have healed before engaging in vigorous exercises such as abdominal crunches. Meanwhile, you can tone your tummy through regular simple exercises.
For instance, doing pelvic floor exercises. While lying down inhale and exhale, holding your breath while holding the pelvic floor muscles. Gently push your belly up and down, ensure your back is stiff and you’re not holding your tummy area so tight.
The exercise may be difficult during the initial stage, but after doing them regularly will make you accustomed to them. However, in case you had a complication during pregnancy or had cesarean consulting a trained physical fitness trainer will help in understanding the kind of belly exercises to start.
Stage Two Tummy Exercises
Once you feel comfortable after working out on the simple tummy exercises, you can advance to more demanding exercises since the gap on the abdominal muscles has closed. The following steps are necessary when working out on tummy exercises.
When lying on your back, keep both feet on the floor and bend your knees. Put your hands on the thighs. Being in that position contract your abdominal muscles and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. After that, slowly ease your head and shoulders back to the original position in slow motion. Repeat up to 5 times per set and perform three rounds per session.
In this stage, gentle tummy exercises should also be carried out as a warm up.
Lower Abdominal Exercises
These muscles are located below the belly button. To begin with, lie on the floor with the face-up. Contract your abdomen and perform different movements such as raising hands overhead and extending your legs while maintaining your back in the initial position of back flat on the floor. The stronger the abdominal muscles become you gain strength and can slide your feet further away. Perform six repetitions per set and aim for at least three sets per session.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and brace your abdomen. When in that position lean your torso back and lift the feet off the floor until your shins are parallel with the floor and the hips making a ninety-degree angle 3. Extend your arms forward in a position comfortable to allow balancing and hold for a minimum of thirty minutes.
With your body lying on the floor with the head up, place a towel across your upper shins and hold it on each end. Squeeze the thighs together while you pull the ends of the towel. Inhale as you lift your shoulders and draw your abs inwards. Hold your breath when contracting your muscles and exhale as you release. Work up for ten moves for at least four times a week.
Since swimming requires a strong core to ensure holding a solid horizontal position in the water, start with short sessions and speed up your pace once you are stronger 1. You can also include aqua jogging to when swimming to make your joints softer and gentler.
Besides including other abdominal activities such as crunches and sit-ups are also helpful.