You have just given birth, and you already look beautiful! It is okay to have that weight for a little longer! Act smart and start taking care of yourself a little more. You start seeking the best postpartum exercises.
Giving birth is the most fantastic feeling in the world. The joy of holding a little one in your arms surpasses anything you’ve ever felt.
However, after a few months, when the baby settles down and you get time to refocus on yourself, you might feel a little different. By this time, most women start panicking about their weight. But, we want to tell all the brave women out there that it’s okay!
Most women just assume that their bodies will not be the same ever again and keep stressing over it. Mind it; stress can be a trigger to further weight gain. It is not too difficult to lose postpartum weight with a happy attitude, a good workout plan, and a healthy diet. However, when you hit the gym after giving birth, you just cannot go back to exercising like before. What you faced in the nine months of pregnancy, the type of birth (natural or C-section), and complications will decide your exercise regimen.
Postpartum exercise guidelines
You have to be patient and realistic when starting an exercise routine after giving birth. If you had a healthy pregnancy, you could start working out whenever you are ready. Some women feel fine right after a week of pregnancy, while others might take longer to recover fully.
For those who have been through C-section and had complications like Diastasis Recti or extreme vaginal tears, consult your doctor before you begin to exercise again. In most cases, you will have to wait for several weeks before you can start your exercise routine again.
Therefore, as we mentioned again, there is no need to hurry! Take your time, relax, recover, and hit the trails for short walks when you feel entirely ready. The idea is to stay active as much as possible.
As you get stronger, you can move towards abdominal strengthening and other high-intensity exercises. Once you start feeling fine with a 30 minutes’ walk, go for a low-impact aerobic activity for 20 minutes. You can also add yoga and stretching to bring back muscle strength and flexibility.
Here is a video that eloquently demonstrates the Best Postpartum Exercises:
Why are postpartum exercises good for you?
No matter at what stage you are in your life, exercising can work miracles on your mind, body, and overall health. It is one of the best and easiest ways to tone and strengthen your muscles. On top of it, there are several other health benefits during the postpartum period.
- Strengthen the abdominal muscles that are usually stretched during the nine months
- Uplift your energy level
- Allows you to sleep better
- Relieve you of all sorts of stress
- Last but not least, it will help you lose those extra pounds.
The prime goal of postpartum exercises is to make yourself a little more active. Do movements that make you feel good and bring your focus on core strengthening. Further, you need to focus on abdominal muscles, pelvic floors, and diaphragm health. Here we are going to mention the 3 best exercises for postpartum.
The 3 best exercises for postpartum
Pelvic Floor Exercises or Kegel
Kegel is one of the most refined forms of pelvic floor exercise. The exercise focuses on supporting the pelvic organs like the small intestine, rectum, uterus, and bladder. It is one such exercise that you can do before, during, and after the pregnancy. Regular Kegel exercise helps gain back strength and correct the functioning of the pelvic muscle.
The best part here is, you do not need to go to the gym for this exercise. You can be around the baby and yet achieve a stronger pelvic muscle. Follow the steps below to do Kegels:
- Doing kegel is quite simple. You just have to recognize the muscle you squeeze to stop urination.
- To find out if you are focusing on the right muscle, wash your fingers, and place them inside your vagina. Now, while you have your finger in, squeeze the muscle you would hold in urine and gas. It is the right muscle if you feel stiffness around the finger.
- First, you need to master Kegels while lying down. Once you have recognized the muscles, next comes lying down comfortably. Afterward, you can do it in a sitting and a standing position.
- Squeeze the muscles you recognized in the second step and hold them for a while. In the beginning, you may not be able to hold longer than 2-3 seconds, but later, you will find yourself holding it up for as long as 10 seconds.
- Relax for almost three seconds, and start again. You have to continue doing these steps several times in a row. It would be ideal to do it 10 times in a row in three sets.
- As the muscle gets stronger, you can increase the repetition and the duration of a squeeze. You will start witnessing improvement within 6-12 weeks. However, keep in mind that you don’t hold your breath unnecessarily.
As we mentioned above, the motive behind the postpartum exercise is to retain the core strength and lose some weight. One such exercise is postpartum planks or standard plank hold.
Once again, you do not need to go to the gym for this exercise. You can start doing postpartum planks just after a few weeks of delivery. Simply follow the steps mentioned below and proceed:
- To do the exercise, you have to first lie down on your stomach with the support of your forearms.
- Now take the help of your glutes and core to rise. Make sure only your forearms and toes are touching the floor.
- Align your body at the height of a few inches in a straight line.
- Next, make sure that you have contracted your abdominal muscles by squeezing your belly button until it reaches the spine, and keep your upper body and buttocks stiff.
- Maintain your breath and hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Initially, do this exercise 122 times a day, but as you start gaining strength, increase the hold time and the repetition.
Once you have gained strength, you can shift to a more complex form of workout by doing the pelvic exercises and plank. We call it the Tabata style workout, where you have to stay super active for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds.
We recommend you to go for this exercise only after 12 weeks of postpartum. Some of the exercises that you should follow are:
- 20 seconds of squats
- 20 seconds of lunges
- 20 second of plank hold
- 20 seconds of push-ups
Do not forget to take 10 seconds of rest after every 20 seconds of exercise. Complete 8 rounds of all the above exercises, and you will start feeling healthy and even shed some pounds.
If you are short on time, which most moms are, Tabata is the best exercise. Once you start working out and feel good again, you can add several activities to your routine. For instance:
- Brisk walking
- Low-impact aerobic workouts
- Lightweight training
In the end, do remember that the postpartum period is not the time to be tough on yourself. Have a little patience and ease your way into 20 minutes of exercise every day. After every session, ask yourself.
- How do you feel?
- Is your body aching?
- Whether your exercise gives your energy, or do you feel like taking a nap?
Take a note of these questions and discuss them with your doctor on your next visit. The idea is to regain the strength of your body. Follow these exercises with 20 minutes of stroller walk every day. This will keep you as well as the baby healthy.
Half an hour of Tabata exercise will help you lose 400 calories, whereas planks can help you burn 5 calories every minute. So, you will definitely lose a considerable amount of weight with these exercises. Be consistent with your routine, and club your exercise with a healthy diet. Include protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins in your diet to help achieve your weight-loss goal.
Overall, postpartum is not about weight loss; it should be about taking care of yourself and strengthening the muscle. So, never overdo the exercises, keep it four times a week and stay motivated. Just being consistent with the exercise will make significant progress.