As an online personal trainer, I’ve guided numerous new mothers on their fitness journey. I want to assure you that regaining your pre-pregnancy physique is achievable with the right approach.
Studies indicate that initiating a consistent workout regimen shortly after childbirth can be beneficial for your holistic well-being and might even mitigate the risks associated with postpartum depression.
It’s crucial to remember that each pregnancy and childbirth experience is unique. Therefore, always consult with your healthcare professional before diving into any postnatal exercise routine. Should you encounter symptoms like pronounced bleeding, intense discomfort, migraines, or any other atypical signs during or post-exercise, it’s imperative to halt immediately and seek medical guidance.
Below, as a professional online personal trainer I’ve curated a list of exercises to ease you back into a regular fitness routine.
At first glance, walking might seem too basic to be effective. However, postpartum, it’s an excellent method to reintroduce your body to regular exercise. How to
Begin with a leisurely walk, soaking in the surroundings. As you gain more confidence and strength, you can transition into a brisker pace. Even a calm walk can have profound effects on your well-being during the initial post-birth phase. Carrying your baby in a front pack not only strengthens the bond but also adds a bit of resistance, enhancing the workout.
A Twist to the Routine
Once you’re comfortable, challenge yourself by walking backward or adopting a zigzag pattern. This introduces unpredictability, ensuring your muscles remain engaged. However, it’s essential to perfect this technique and be confident in your balance before involving your baby.
Deep Belly Breathing with Abdominal Contraction
This is one of the most accessible exercises post-delivery, so much so that you can start just an hour after childbirth. It serves a dual purpose: it aids in muscle relaxation and kick-starts the journey of fortifying and sculpting your abdominal region.
How to Approach It
Adopt an upright sitting position. Take a profound breath, ensuring the air flows from the diaphragm upwards. As you inhale, tense your abdominal muscles and hold. Upon exhaling, release the tension. Over time, aim to extend the duration for which you can maintain the contraction in your abs.
Elevating the Head, Raising the Shoulders, and Abdominal Crunches
As an online personal trainer I can assure you that these trio exercises are excellent for reinforcing the muscles of the back. Additionally, they sculpt the midsection and aid in calorie burning.
Elevating the Head
- Starting Position: Lay flat on your back, arms resting by your sides. Ensure your lower back is in contact with the ground and bend your knees, placing your feet firmly on the ground.
- Movement: Breathe in, allowing your stomach to relax. As you breathe out, gently raise your head and neck. Breathe in again as you return your head to its initial position.
Raising the Shoulders
- Starting Position: Assume the same posture as for elevating the head.
- Progression: Once you’re comfortable with 10 head elevations, progress to this exercise.
- Movement: Take a deep breath and let your stomach relax. As you breathe out, elevate both your head and shoulders, extending your arms towards your knees. If you feel discomfort in your neck, place your hands behind your head without applying pressure to the neck. Breathe in as you revert to the starting position.
- Starting Position: Begin in the same posture as the previous exercises.
- Progression: After mastering 10 shoulder raises, transition to this exercise.
- Movement: Elevate your upper body until it’s midway between your knees and the ground. Stretch out towards your knees, maintaining the position for 2 to 5 seconds. Gradually return to the starting position.
- Breathing Guidance: Remember to exhale during the effort and inhale during the recovery phase.
Pelvic Tilt in a Kneeling Position
This rejuvenating movement is effective in sculpting the abdominal region. Additionally, fortifying the abdominal muscles can alleviate discomfort in the back.
Starting Position: Position yourself on your hands and knees. Ensure your toes are in contact with the ground behind you, and your arms are vertically aligned with your shoulders, with palms flat on the floor. Your spine should maintain a neutral position, neither rounded nor arched excessively.
Breathe in and gently push your hips forward, causing a tilt in your pelvis and an upward rotation of the pubic bone. Maintain this position for three counts, then gradually revert to the initial posture.
Pelvic Floor Exercises (Kegels)
Kegels are renowned exercises that aim to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They are particularly beneficial in enhancing bladder control and minimizing the likelihood of incontinence, especially after childbirth. Regular practice and prolonged holds can significantly improve control, preventing involuntary leaks when sneezing, laughing, or lifting objects, including your baby.
Identifying the Right Muscles: To pinpoint the correct muscles, try stopping your urine flow midstream during urination. The muscles you engage to do this are the ones you need to exercise. Once you’ve identified them, finish urinating before proceeding with the exercises.
When not in the restroom, tighten (contract) these muscles, hold the contraction briefly, and then relax. Aim to repeat this cycle 10 times in a row, thrice daily. Remember, consistency is key for optimal results.
Mother-Baby Duo Workouts
As an online personal trainer I know that Finding solo workout time can be a challenge with a newborn. Here are some exercises you can enjoy with your baby. Always prioritise safety: consider practising with a doll or a blanket/towel bundle similar in size to your baby first.
Only engage in these exercises when you’re confident about not dropping your baby, ensuring both your and your baby’s safety.
Baby Glide Steps:
Technique: Hold your baby securely against your chest. Step forward into a lunge with your left leg, ensuring your knee doesn’t extend beyond your toes. Return to the starting position and alternate with the right leg.
Benefits: Enhances leg strength, back muscles, and core stability.
Repetitions: 8-10 times per leg.
Baby Side Steps
Technique: Similar to the Baby Glide Steps, but instead of moving forward, step sideways into a lunge, followed by a squat. Imagine sitting back into a chair, ensuring your knees align with your ankles.
Benefits: Works on the thighs and glutes.
Repetitions: 8-10 times for each direction.
Baby Rock Squats with Lifts
Technique: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding your baby securely, squat down, letting your baby’s feet lightly touch the ground. As you stand, lift your baby closer to your chest.
Benefits: Strengthens the thighs and engages the biceps.
Repetitions: 15 times.
Safety Note: Suitable for babies aged 10 to 12 weeks and older.
Remember, always ensure you’re in good physical condition and maintain balance to guarantee safety for both you and your baby during these exercises.