by Cliff Austin
Exercising after birth is important for helping you to get your body back and also for helping to reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Here are five gentle exercise aimed at helping to restore your body after birth. Make sure you consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine postpartum.
Walking is a gentle way to get your body back in shape and is something you can do with your baby. Most pediatricians limit your baby’s outings in the first six to eight weeks of life so a walk around the neighborhood or to a local park is a great way to get both of you out of the house without exposing your baby to any unnecessary germs. Also make sure you are safe when you walk or go out for a jog, especially when it comes to hydration.
Kegels target your pelvic muscles and are one of the most important and easiest exercises for a new mom. You can do them anywhere at any time. A Kegel is done by contracting the pelvic muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine. You should aim to do 1-3 sets of 20 reps each day.
3. Pelvic Tilt
Regaining strength is important in getting your pre-baby body back. A lot of this work is done through simple stretches and exercises aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor which becomes weakened and stretched after childbirth. The exercise is done by lying on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat and your arms should be at your sides. Slowly inhale and then as you exhale draw your abs in and rock your hips towards your face. After a few seconds, inhale and return to a neutral position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
4. Pelvic Bridge
The pelvic bridge is similar to the pelvic tilt and is good for strengthening the pelvic floor and for helping to bring your stomach muscles back together after delivery. To do a pelvic bridge you will lay on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your arms should be at your sides. Inhale and draw your abs in. As you exhale, slowly bring your pelvis up in the air so that you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds, exhale and then slowly bring your hips back to the floor.
5. Toe Taps
Toe Taps are another great exercise geared at toning the tummy and bringing the stomach muscles back together. The idea is that you want to skip any exercises that put a strain on the muscles, like a standard crunch. A toe tap is a great exercise to strengthen and work the abdominal wall. To do a toe tap, lay on your back with your feet off the floor and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull your abs in and exhale as you lower your foot to the floor. Inhale and return your leg to the starting position. Repeat with the other foot.