The post pregnancy belly is one joy we could do without - and it can stick around for longer than you want after pregnancy. When you began exercising during your pregnancy, slow and steady was the rule. That's even more important after your pregnancy. You should only really start exercising when you feel capable of physical exertion again. Most mothers wait until they have had their six week postpartum check up, but if you feel ready, then you can start sooner. Of course you can start later too - better late than never! It's a long nine months of your body changing, often in ways that you may not like.
Now that your baby is born, you find yourself with a the post pregnancy belly, a few extra pounds and a whole bunch of new stretch marks. Where did your pre-pregnancy body go and will it ever come back? So what are the best exercises for after pregnancy? Most importantly, how long will it take to get your pre-pregnancy body back? One of the main factors in determining how soon you can regain your shape postpartum is how healthy you were during your pregnancy. People see some celebrities losing up to 60 pounds in a few months after pregnancy and believe they can do the same. By most people's standards, this is exceptionally fast. By Hollywood standards, this is normal.
If you wonder why some people can lose their baby weight so quickly, it's because they exercised before and during their pregnancies. Plus, they're pretty conscious about what they eat. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that they can afford nannies to watch their children while they exercise and personal trainers to get them to the gym seven days a week for two hours each and every day (sometimes even longer). If it's good enough for Hollywood mums, it's good enough for you. Ezyfit makes an online personal trainer convenient, AND affordable!
For us mere regular people who have to deal with families, jobs or the responsibilities of being a mum at home and new children, weight loss after pregnancy may not be so easy. While you might not have dragged yourself to the gym throughout your pregnancy, you'll be happy that you do post pregnancy exercises when you see your post pregnancy belly shrinking!
If you were fit during your pregnancy, you should start to see results sooner with your postnatal exercises. However, getting your body back to "normal" can take anywhere from three months (that would be a great effort) to nine months (this is more commonly the time taken). For that in-between-time, you may want to use a support girdle to help your body heal and give the appearance of a flatter tummy. If you are breastfeeding, it may be a bit more difficult to lose weight simply because you have to consume more calories to make sure your milk is full of healthy nutrients for your baby.
So, when should you begin post pregnancy exercises? Generally, I would recommend waiting around six weeks; eight weeks if you have had a caesarean. However, some women can start exercising before this. Listen to your body. Ezyfit has specialist after pregnancy exercises, ideal for busy moms who can't get to the gym. Join up and tell us your goals and exercise preferences (and if you have any gym equipment at home), and we'll develop a customised after pregnancy exercise programme to help you lose weight and tone up. We'll update the programme every eight weeks, give video demos on how to do the exercises, and even provide a personal trainer online for any questions (and a bit of a motivation prod every now and again). There's a free trial, but after pregnancy, we recommend a personalised programme. When you decide to start an exercise program post pregnancy, you should always consult your physician as they will have grown to know you over the last 9 months.
Stretching a great place to start
If you had a normal, uncomplicated birth, though, you can start doing little exercises as early as the day after you give birth. But these should be very simple, non-stressful exercises, like leg stretches. You should also continue with your Kegel exercises to strengthen you pelvic floor muscles. If you've had a caesarean, it is best to wait until you've stopped bleeding and your health care provider has given you the green light before you start doing any form of postnatal exercises.
Stick to a Routine
Like all successful exercise regimes, regular post pregnancy exercise is vital - though a bit hard to fit in around unpredictable babies! Try and establish a routine when your child is sleeping. Also, try to workout at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. The consistency is always the key, aiming for at least 3x per week to be maintainable . If you are determined to lose your weight quickly, then exercise more often. However, never exercise to the point of exhaustion. If your body is telling you it's tired, stop exercising immediately. Remember your body is still recovering.
Also, if you feel faint or dizzy, have shortness of breath, experience heart palpitations, have an increase in vaginal bleeding or have troubles walking or seeing, stop exercising and contact your physician. Always be sensible with your intensity and be patient in slowing building your fitness. If you keep over doing it, you will be frustrated by a lack of results. If you build your fitness up at the rate your body can maintain, then you will see great results and continue to see improvements and see even better results
Here are some exercises that you should be sure to include in your fitness program to help get your stomach flatter, your vaginal muscles tighter and your body back to its old self.
Be aware you are unlikely to have a-lot of strength when you start out, so keep your muscle overload light for the first 2 weeks whilst your abdominal muscles learn to re-engage. When you are doing sit-ups, make sure you have a mat underneath you. Also, keep the small of your back (the part that arches) in contact with the floor at all times.
To work your upper abdominal muscles, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. You could also put your feet on a chair so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly, inhale and lift your head and shoulders up, off the ground while you contract your abdominal muscles. Lift until you feel your muscles working; you don't need to go all the way up to a sitting position. Then slowly lower your upper body back down while you exhale.
To work your lower abdominal muscles, you can do a reverse crunch. Again, start by lying on the floor with your legs bent, but this time keep your feet close to your buttocks, slightly above the floor. Inhale while you slowly raise your hips and pelvis up towards you so that your buttocks rise up off the floor. Your knees should curl in towards you make sure your the arch in your lower back remains the same and your pelvis doesn't arch forward.. Exhale and lower slowly back down. For both tummy exercises, you should try to do two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions provided you feel capable. Remember start light and progress slowly, think long term.
If you have been doing these exercises throughout your pregnancy, then keep doing what you've been doing. For those women who did not do any Kegel exercises, you will want to start because they help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It is recommended to do them during pregnancy because it can help make labour easier.
However, there are benefits to having strong pelvic floor muscles even if you're not pregnant. Kegel exercises can help you with bladder control and can even help make your orgasms better. Plus, Kegel exercises are incredibly simple and can be done anywhere, anytime. To do them, you just need to contract your vaginal muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for a few seconds then slowly release. Aim to hold the contraction for 10 seconds (you might have to work up to this) and try to do about 25 a day.
Go For A Walk
If there are other new moms in your neighbourhood, you could organize a group to go for regular walks together. This will help to keep you motivated as well as make the outing more enjoyable. Plus, walking, whether with a group or on your own is easier to fit into your daily schedule as it allows you to take your baby with you. To get best results, join Ezyfit and ask your Ezyfit trainer to schedule a frequency and duration into your training program so you see your fitness improving.
Try Yoga or Aerobics
If walking is not your thing, you can also try some post partum yoga or aerobics classes. If you become a member with Ezyfit, you can watch yoga, aerobits and pilates classes online. Check with your Ezyfit trainer which ones are designed for new moms. Many moms enjoy doing an Ezyfit yoga workout from home with their babies. When you stay home to exercise, there is no need to worry about your baby's feeding and sleeping times or going out in bad weather (Ezyfit online workouts are designed to be done from home so it's feasible to get fit again).
Swimming is also an excellent form of cardio exercise. However, swimming is not a weight bearing exercise. While this was helpful during your pregnancy, now you need to make sure you tone your muscles by incorporating weights into your workout. Weight bearing exercises are important in strengthening bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis later on. Swimming has many benefits as it require a lot of muscle activation. Ezyfit trainers will develop a personalised weight bearing program for you, that can be done with no equipment, or with anything on hand such as dumbells, mats etc.
Exercise has many benefits post pregnancy and you should be focused on building up your fitness and strength slowly. Keep in mind that if you build a good fitness level up over the 9 months then you will be in great shape to continue your exercise program long-term and you will continue to see great results. You'll also be setting a great example for your children and more than likely you will be feeding your children healthy food choices because of your healthy lifestyle. The point I want to make to finish, is that a regular exercise program will have so many benefits in every aspect of your health and wellbeing.
We'd love to help you get started on weight loss post pregnancy. It's easy to lose belly fat with the guidance of a personalised program from Ezyfit for a low monthly fee. Immediately after joining, you get a post pregancy exercise program for your first week. Then you'll get a personalised program of home workouts when you complete the health questionnaire. Tell us if you have any home equipment such as swiss balls (dooesn't matter if you don't have anything). There's exercise classes from pilates and yoga to step and aerobics to watch, plus nutrition and calorie tips. Your own online personal trainer will design a program to suit.
We've helped hundreds of women to lose their post pregnancy belly fat. Why wait? We look forward to giving you the spark and support to make it happen!
Ezyfit Personal Training team
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