You did it, mama!
After nine long months, you have finally given birth to your beautiful little angel. You are enjoying your new role as a mom for weeks now with all the mom routine, but like most moms the question, “how to get my body back?” is probably crossing your mind, too.
There are ways to get fit after pregnancy. This isn’t about feeling defeated about the recent changes our body went through, but rather how to develop a strong, healthy body: it’s about taking care of ourselves so we can take care of our family, too.
Starting your fitness journey doesn’t only help you lose the extra weight you may have gained during pregnancy, but it also helps you gain your strength back, boost your energy, relieve stress, improve your moods, and possibly help prevent postpartum depression.
An important reminder before we proceed: Be sure to consult your GP six weeks after giving birth - before giving any fitness regime a go.
We listed down some of the postpartum exercises and activities you can do:
Light cardio exercises, like brisk walking, are perfect for new moms who did not have any fitness routine before pregnancy. You can try to go on a 10-minute brisk walk per day and go longer as you see fit, at least four times a week. This exercise is very light and perfect to get you started in getting your shape back.
Other aerobic exercises like swimming, running, dancing, and cycling would help in getting your heart rate up and burn calories. Doing these exercises with a group is a bonus!
These are meant for your pelvic floor muscles to regain control of your bladder and bowel after your baby's birth. They also improve blood circulation to your perineum to reduce any swelling and bruising you may have.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (these are the ones you use when you’re trying to hold in a pee).
- Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat ten times. Try to work up to three or four sets about three times a day.
- Avoid tightening your leg or abdominal muscles.
You can start weight lifting as soon as you feel comfortable (and a go signal from your doctor). Start with low weights like dumbbells and work your way to heavier weights when you can. It is important to add only a small amount of weight each week and remember to go slowly and always proceed with caution.
Yoga proves to be beneficial to anyone striving for fitness, including new moms.
It helps to calm nerves, loosen rigid muscles, and restore pelvic floor and abdominal muscles that have been tried and tested over nine months of supporting a baby.
The emphasis of this exercise is on breathing and moving simultaneously to help you breathe more deeply, which can trigger feelings of deep relaxation and well-being. You can choose to practice it at home, but occasionally joining other women in a postpartum yoga class can also get you the moral support you need - especially from those who are facing the same challenges that you have as a mom.
Pilates is an exercise focusing on proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. It is centered around the ‘core’ which includes muscles in the abdomen, back and buttocks which makes it an excellent way to relieve physical stress from all the baby-carrying and other mom duties.
For new moms, you can take post-natal Pilates under certified Pilates instructors to get the best of it. This exercise not only hones your strength and flexibility but also burns calories and uplifts your mental health.
Among these exercises and activities, whichever you decide to practice, make sure that you are comfortable and are not experiencing any kind of pain. Be easy with yourself and take it slow. Don’t forget to get enough sleep and rest to fully enjoy this time of your motherhood! <3