“When can I start doing exercises after delivery “? “How long will it take for my tummy to tone back to normal” ? – These are some of the frequently asked questions of new moms soon after their pregnancy.
They are so eager to get their post baby body back in shape that they start stressing their body by indulging in many advanced form of exercises which are not at all appropriate for them like Crunches.
No doubt it is one of the best form of exercise to get your Abs in shape but unfortunately not suitable for postpartum moms. Crunches mainly focus on Rectus Abdominis muscle and this is one muscle that is most overstretched during pregnancy. Working on this will put more pressure on your stitches. Remember, too much too soon is a good way to injure yourself.
I would say, Patience is the key. After all you took 9 months to gain so much of fat in your body and let your tummy muscles stretched to accommodate a full term baby. So it makes sense that your tummy will take at least that long or may be much longer to tone up again.
During pregnancy, your body produces special hormones that stimulate physical changes in virtually every part of your body especially on uterus which starts growing upwards and stretches the muscles in abdomen. This will make your tummy skin saggy.
Generally your doctor may give you green signal 6 to 8 weeks after the cesarean. But be careful, as your ligaments and joints will still be loose for 3 to 5 months, so don’t push yourself.
Better to avoid high-impact activities and start with these simple TUMMY TONING Exercises :
Aerobic activities are first and foremost thing to flatten the loose tummy. It helps in losing the fat that you gained during pregnancy. It is always best to start with low impact exercises like walking, swimming, riding a bicycle etc. A brisk walk with your baby in a stroller is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise for new mothers.
ISOMETRIC ABDOMINAL CONTRACTIONS
You can perform this exercise either by sitting, standing or lying still while activating your stomach muscle. Pull your belly button towards your spine and hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Release and repeat these contractions often and throughout the day. The best part of this exercise is that you can do it anywhere, anytime.
ADVICE : Holding your breath can cause your B.P. to rise. So breathe normally while doing the contractions.
It engages your entire core, making it a safe beginning exercise.
Lie on your back with both feet on the floor. Bend your knees and relax arms on your side, palm facing down. Slowly inhale and squeeze your glute(hip) muscles, pushing your heels down and raise your belly up. Then exhale slowly and release your core back to the floor. Repeat 10 times with 3 sets.
It will strengthen your abdominal muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your arms overhead, bend your torso forward at hip and touch your toes with hands. Hold this position for the count of 10 seconds and then return to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
SINGLE LEG CIRCLES
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms down. Squeeze your belly in as if you are pulling your belly button towards your spine. Extend your right leg towards the ceiling with your toes pointed and turned slightly outward. Trace a small circle with your right leg. Circle 10 times clockwise and then repeat another 10 in anti-clockwise direction. Come back to starting position and repeat the same with your left leg.
Lie with your face up on the floor, knees bent and shoulders width apart. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your hands behind the head, but don’t clasp your fingers. Hold your belly in and curl your shoulder off the floor. Hold for 5 counts and then relax. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
DOUBLE LEG RAISE
It focuses on lower abdominal muscles and strengthen your thighs too.
Lie flat on your back with your legs fully stretched straight. Keep your arms at your sides, palm down. Raise your legs and keep them straight pointing at the ceiling without bending them. Now slowly lower your legs but don’t let them touch the floor. Keep them above the floor from 1 or 2 inches. Perform 2 sets with 10 repetitions.
Last but not the least, BREASTFEED your baby. It burns calories and releases the hormone, oxytocin which causes powerful uterine contractions. These contractions work to shrink the uterus and help your tummy in returning to its original size.
Apart from the exercises, your diet and lifestyle changes play a huge role in post pregnancy tummy toning.
ADVICE : Check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program for the first time and make sure that your stitches are healed completely.