So here’s the situation: you used to be really into your exercise, religiously attending the 7pm tuesday spin class with your girlfriends, never missed your 1-2-1 saturday morning yoga and even made it to the gym before work. And then your life drastically changed. You fell pregnant. What is meant to be the most exciting time of your life, your body has now changed. You’re constantly tired, you’ve got stretch marks, you’re craving unhealthy food and your exercise schedule has gone out the window. Roll on 9 months and you’ve got this perfect little person but your body just doesn’t feel the same as it used to.
Experts say you can start exercising after giving birth as soon as you feel up to it. However, it’s ideal to wait at least 6 weeks before you start any high-impact exercise such as aerobics, running or zumba (C-Section mums – this might be a little longer so talk to your GP first).
As a result of pregnancy, your lower back, core abdominal muscles and upper body may be weaker than they used to be, so we don’t want any post-natal injuries. Here are some exercises we suggest you take up after giving birth to start getting your body back into shape.
1. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (Kegel Exercises)
Aim: To help strengthen your muscles “down there”
- Increases your bladder control
- Supports your vagina, uterus and bowel
- Helps to heal any damage by increasing blood supply to the area
You can do this exercise lying down, sitting or standing, anywhere and at any time – even while you’re watching TV:
Use your pelvic muscles to squeeze around your area “down there”, hold for 10 seconds, and then relax. Repeat for 10 reps, 4-6 times a day until your muscles get tired.
2. Head Lifts, Shoulder Lifts and Curl-Ups
Aim: To strengthen your back muscles and tone your tummy and abs
Head Lifts – lie on your back with your arms along your sides and bend your knees. As you exhale, slowly lift your head and neck off the floor.
Shoulder Lifts – same as above but slightly harder. As you exhale, raise your head and shoulders off the floor reaching your arms and hands toward your knees.
Curl-ups – once you can do the first two move onto this. Start in the same position as above but lift your torso until it’s halfway between your knees and the floor. Hold for 2-5 seconds.
Aim: to keep toned and stay flexible
Postnatal yoga uses movement, balance and relaxation to allow your body to recover from pregnancy and birth. Watch to get some ideas.
- Helps build up strength in the spine
- Restores the body towards full core strength
- Helps ease the effects of other heavy lifting (eg car seats)
4. Walking with your baby
Aim: Ease yourself into a fitness routine
Start with an easy stroll and work your way up to a pumped-up power walk. You can even bring little bub along with you in a front pack that will add extra weight and increase the benefits of the walk. You might want to even add in some lunges along the way!
The baby glider – Lunge whilst holding your baby close to your chest will help strengthen your legs, back muscles, and core. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
The baby bouncer – Side lunges instead of forwards and add a squat to make it harder. Repeat 8-10 times to each side.
We have a range of highly qualified trainers who specialise in post-natal workouts to ensure you are given the best care. We know you are now really busy with your little one and time-restrained which is why our trainers can come to you and workout in your living room whilst the baby has a nap!