7 easy exercises to shape you up after childbirth
Article by Cherlynn Ng
Now that you have finally conquered the exhausting stages of pregnancy and giving birth, it’s time to focus on healing your body. And what better way to do that than with a nutritious diet and regular exercise?
Exercise is especially helpful for women in confinement. Not only does it help you to regain your pre-pregnancy figure and keep you healthy, it also improves your energy levels, promotes better sleep, relieves stress and prevents postpartum depression. Check out these seven simple and safe exercises that you can participate in!
1. Abdominal exercises
Want to get rid of your belly flab? It’s time to work those stomach muscles. This is a fantastic way to relax while strengthening your core.
Sit upright and inhale deeply, drawing air from your diaphragm. Contract and hold your abs tight while inhaling and relax while exhaling. Do this repeatedly and slowly increase the amount of time you contract and hold your abs each time.
2. Kegel exercises
The weakening of your pelvic muscles after childbirth can lead to difficulties in controlling your bladder. Kegel exercises will tone up your muscles and even reduce the risks of incontinence associated with childbirth. The more kegels you do and the longer you hold them, the better control you will have over those leaks caused by sneezing or laughing.
To practice kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you are lifting the marble. Hold the position for three seconds and then relax for another three. Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day.
3. Pelvic tilts
This is another effective way of strengthening your abdominal muscles. Firstly, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Then flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds and repeat.
Love the water? Then you will be pleased to know that there are many exercises that you can perform, such as swimming, water running and aqua aerobics. Being low-impact, these water activities boost your stamina and help you to tone up without putting a strain on your joints and ligaments. They will definitely get you back into the swing of regular exercise in no time!
5. Happy baby yoga pose
Childbirth puts a strain on your pelvic muscles, but this popular yoga pose will help to gently stretch them and ease the soreness. You can easily incorporate it into your routine from the comfort of your own home.
Step 1: Lie on your back and bring your knees toward your chest.
Step 2: Open your knees slightly wider than your hips. Keeping your arms on the inside of your knees, use your hands to hold onto the outside of your feet or ankles.
Step 3: Bend your knees so that the bottoms of your feet face upward and gently pull your feet downward to lower your knees towards the surface. Holding this pose for around 90 seconds.
Walking is one of the simplest ways to ease into a fitness routine and get back in shape post-childbirth. It is a relaxing cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your heart and muscles. Start with a gentle stroll at your own pace and gradually work your way up to a pumped-up power walk. Taking a walk outdoors also allows you to appreciate your surroundings (put away your phones!) and live in the moment.
Whether it’s signing up for a zumba class or simply swaying to music in your room, this is a fun way to keep fit. Besides shedding those extra calories, you will also be in a great mood after sweating it out!
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