Many women ask how long they should wait to start exercising after they have a baby. Unfortunately, there is not a “one size fits all” answer for this. It depends on your exercise routine before and during your pregnancy and how well your birthing process went. It is best to take it slow for the first 6 weeks, always listen to your body and your doctor.
But even with taking it slow, there are several exercises you can start doing to get your body ready for a more intense workout routine.
Walking: Walking doesn’t sound like much of a workout, but it is one of the simplest ways to ease back into a workout routine. Start with a light stroll (always wear proper footwear) for about 30 minutes 2-3 times a week. You can gradually increase the length and number of your walks.
BONUS: Wear your baby for added weight, this will give more of a “cardio-feel” to your walks as well as help engage your leg muscles more.
Kegel Exercises: Your kegel muscles are the muscles in your pelvic floor that support your pelvic organs. Pregnancy weakens these muscles which is why some women leak when they sneeze, laugh or cough. To identify these muscles, try to stop urination in midstream, if you can do this, then you have engaged the correct muscles. The exercise is simple; tighten your pelvic floor muscles, (like you did when you stopped urination) hold the contraction for 5 seconds, and then release. Try to do three sets of 10 per day.
Samantha from “Sex in the City” does kegel exercises all the time.
Pelvic Tilts: These help strengthen your abdominal area, and in some cases, can help relieve back pain. Lie on your back with your knees bent and a pillow under your hips. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bend your pelvis up slightly, hold this for 10 seconds. Try to do three sets of 10 per day.
Lower Abdominal Contractions: This helps strengthen your abdominal area as well as your pelvic floor. Sit on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Do a kegel, (from above!) tighten your abdominal muscles, and lift one foot off the floor keeping your knee bent. Hold this for 5 seconds. Try to do three sets of 10 per day.
BONUS: To intensify this workout, when you lift your foot off the floor instead of keeping your knee bent, stretch your leg out straight in front of you and hold this pose.
Drink water! You’ve heard this a million times. It is an appetite suppressant with zero calories! Drinking one to two glasses of water before each meal will help you eat less. Your belly will be full of water instead of extra food.
Don’t buy bigger clothes: If you have bigger clothes to wear after you have a baby, you will wear them and start to get more comfortable with your newly added baby weight. Keep those old pre-baby jeans and let them be your motivation to fit back into them as soon as possible.
Create a healthy lifestyle: I always hear people talk about going on diets and exercising for only a month or two. Once they reach their goal weight, they go back to their old eating habits and stop exercising. Create a healthy lifestyle for you and your family! It’s a lifestyle change, not a fad diet or exercise routine.