Do you want to exercise after pregnancy, but aren't sure your body is ready? Many women want to get back into their pre-pregnancy clothes as soon as possible. What woman wants to wear maternity brands or overly large sweat pants for longer than she must?
However, exercise after pregnancy should be slow and easy - it is the key to achieving a fit of those jeans without an elastic waistband.
The first rule is to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program; typically, a doctor will okay a basic program around five or six weeks after childbirth.
After getting your doctor’s okay, you can begin your post pregnancy exercise routine. Following are various excellent low impact exercises:
Walking is an excellent low impact exercise. Begin with a fifteen or twenty minute circuit, and increase its length according to how you feel. Many women start with this low-impact exercise after pregnancy, as it works the entire body, and can be easily adapted to a new mother’s needs by increasing or decreasing the pace. It can also be done on rainy days inside at a mall and with your new baby, happily snug in a stroller or baby carrier.
With so many forms of yoga to choose from, finding a studio with a Gentle Yoga or Level 1 Yoga should be easy. Many studios also offer Restorative Yoga or yoga targeted specifically for new mothers. These studios may also offer Mommy and Me classes with modified poses to accommodate newborns and infants. Yoga helps to increase circulation, tone muscles, and build strength. This form of exercise uses the body’s own mass as weights; therefore it is gentler on the entire body.
With Yoga, you work both your mind and your body, helping you release stress and lift depression. Read more on our yoga for depression relief page.
Pilates is a workout designed to target and strengthen the core. For women who have had a C-section, a modified Pilates workout is recommended when beginning. Strengthening the core after childbirth is highly advisable, as all women notice a reduction of abdominal strength due to the muscles stretching greatly in the last trimester. Pilates, especially with the help of an instructor, is a wonderful option of getting those abs back in shape.
Any type of aerobic exercise that engages the entire body for concentrated amounts of time helps the body to burn fat. For a low impact cardio workout, try water aerobics. The resistance from the water works your heart and muscles without the same impact that these movements cause on land. Water aerobics is also a great beginning exercise for a mom who hasn’t exercised in awhile, as it’s more discreet - if you can’t keep up or mess up the footwork, only you will know, since the moves are performed under water.
Abdominals, or ab exercises, are essential to helping the abdominals regain their shape and strength after having a baby. A variety of exercises such as crunches and pelvic tilts are ideal to help the body regain its former strength. However, it is especially important to consult with your doctor about beginning ab exercises if you delivered a child by C-section.
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