There is a lot of pressure on new mums to get back into pre-pregnancy clothes after having a baby, but the reality of losing the baby weight and fitting a workout into your busy day is not as easy as it seems.
Well, exercise doesn’t have to involve a daily gym-a-thon at your local fitness club where you will also have to make sure that crèche facilities are available; that can be enough to make you give up on idea of exercising. There are many baby friendly exercise classes available from yoga, Pilates to more cardio workout like Salsa dancing with your baby.
Just half an hour three times a week is enough to boost fitness and improve your shape. Try to plan your exercise time in your diary so you have a subconscious commitment to actually doing it.
The best thing is that you don’t have to break the bank to actually get a great workout; try incorporating physical activity into your day– walking, house work and gardening all burn lots of calories; using the stairs for 5-10 minutes will burn at least 120 calories as well as strengthen the leg muscles and tone you bum. After you can try and build this up to a short runs and power walks.
Pregnancy and child birth put a huge amount of strain on the core muscles of the body therefore it is important to do some activities that help regain that core strength. Post pregnancy these muscles need re-activating which will help improve posture as well as eliminating any back pain and assist in regaining pre-pregnancy fitness.
Start off with this simple reverse breathing exercise to get those core muscles working again:
· Position yourself on the floor on your hands and knees.
· Take a deep breath in and push your belly towards the floor, hold for a couple of seconds.
· As you breathe out slowly pull your belly in towards your spine as tight as you can.
· Breathe out as far as possible and again hold for a couple of seconds.
· Throughout this exercise the rest of your body should remain static and your back should stay in the neutral position.
· Concentrate on making your pelvic floor lift as you breathe out and relax as you breathe in.
· Repeat the exercise, making sure you take long slow deep breaths each time.
A great form of exercise for core muscles is dancing with your baby. For this you need to use a baby carrier or sling and strap your little one in safely. You can put on some of your favourite music, and get going. Make sure your back stays straight at all times, whether you are gently swinging side to side or squatting.
Simple dance movements will force you to hold your tummy in and engage the core muscles. Imagine you’re pulling your stomach muscles towards the spine without holding your breath.
The baby weight will work as resistance and will help toning your whole body. It’s a fun, uplifting way of getting some cardio and toning exercise at the same time. Not to mention the fun that babies will have kicking their legs to the music and bonding with their mum.
You can also join baby friendly group exercise classes as these are great for support and motivation. You get the chance to exercise/dance with your baby and at the same time socialise with other mums that are in the same position. These classes will keep you motivated for longer, are a great way to exercise and to expand your social circle.
Exercising to dance is an exceptional way to let loose and have fun, and it also provides some terrific benefits for your health and fitness.
- Reduce stress and increase energy
- Raise endorphin levels to help battle postnatal depression
- Improve strength and posture
- Increase muscle tone and coordination
- Decrease blood pressure
- Burn calories and fat to help you get back into pre-pregnancy clothes
- Strengthen the bones in your legs and hips
The benefits for both mum and baby are endless: quality bonding time, introducing your baby to music, movement and rhythm without the need to leave the baby with someone else to take a fitness break.
Dancing is a unique form of exercise because it provides the heart-healthy benefits of an aerobic exercise while also allowing you to engage in a social activity which can help dealing with feelings of stress, depression and loneliness.