I’ve mentioned before how I completely let my body go during my last pregnancy. Working at a full-time job while being full-time sick was just too much. Sometimes my only comfort was that daily trip to Wendy’s or the local Mexican joint for my beloved fish burrito.
My muscles all but disappeared. Taking out the trash left me breathless. That’s why it’s been so hard easing back into the swing of things.
I started with walking. Laps around a local park was an excellent way to get my blood pumping and that is still pretty much the extent of my physical activity six weeks after having Henry.
Exercise after giving birth can seem daunting, to say the least. Most days it’s all you can do to stay awake. With that in mind, here are three low impact exercises you can do (before you start those walking laps) that may help jump start your postpartum fitness routine:
- Bridge. To strengthen your core muscles, lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Pelvic tilt. Try the pelvic tilt a few times a day to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
- Kegel exercise. Use this exercise to tone your pelvic floor muscles, which can help control bladder leaks, heal your perineum and tighten your vagina. Contract the muscle you use to stop your urine flow. Hold for up to 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times at least three times a day.
Finding the time to exercise while caring for a newborn can be challenging. Hormonal changes can make you emotional, which might lead you to the couch and a bag of potato chips. That doesn’t mean that you should put physical activity on the back burner. Instead, just do what you can. Remember, exercise can do wonders not only for your physical well-being, but your mental health as well.