Let's get physical
For many women, getting moving after baby is a high priority. We all know that physical fitness is great for the body and the mind, so no matter what your ‘need’ may be, exercise will make you feel great and elevate your mood instantly.
There are specialised mummies’ fitness boot camps, which are always fantastic for meeting other mums in your area and having fun at the same time as getting a sweat on. Or you could ask around for a personal trainer (PT) – a fellow mum is always a good idea so she knows what your body has gone through.
But if you’re time poor, there are many exercises you can do at home with general household items that you have lying around – you can even use your baby! If you find the right personal trainer, they should be able to prescribe a programme and even show you in your own home what to do and the correct techniques. Then you have no excuses!
The important thing to remember is that every woman is different; some are going to ‘bounce back’ much quicker than others due to genetics, body composition before and during pregnancy, metabolism, age and skin elasticity.
Here are some exercises you can start with at home:
- Pelvic Floor - Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Squeeze your pelvic muscles (like you are trying to stop yourself from going to the toilet) and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
- Leg raises (for abs) - Lie on the floor, legs straight, ankles together. As you breathe out, lift your legs off the floor and hold for 10 seconds. As you breathe in, slowly lower your legs. The closer your legs are to the floor, the harder the hold will be. Higher is easier.
- Hip thrusts (for abs and glutes) - lie on the floor with knees bent. Raise your bottom off the floor, thrusting towards the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes and hold. Release and repeat.
- Baby lifts - Lie on floor with knees bent. Have baby sit on your tummy. Lift baby up above the head and lower again. Repeat. The amount of times you do this will depend on your baby’s weight and your own strength. You can also do this exercise in standing position, picking baby up and down from his cot.
- Baby press - Same position as baby lift but have baby lie or sit on your chest and push up towards the ceiling before lowering again. Repeat. (This works best with baby who can support their own head and can lie straight).
- Press ups - Babies love this one. A simple press up (on your knees is fine) with your baby lying underneath you so that every time you lower yourself to the floor you can give baby a kiss.
- Planks/hovers - in full press up position, hold yourself up over baby, squeezing your core tight and with back straight. Once baby is a toddler, they love to sit on your back while you do this exercise, for extra weight.
- Remember not to rush into anything too strenuous until you have medical or midwife clearance - usually 6 weeks post-natal, particularly if you have had a caesarean.
Exercising shouldn’t be a chore, it should be FUN!
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KIM: My journey to becoming a foster parent goes right back to when I was 15. I have always wanted to be able to help a child in need. I have been married for 30 years and have four children of my own, as well as one grandchild.
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