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Every new mom considers going back to exercise after the birth of her baby. It is completely natural for a mother to gain weight during pregnancy, and it is also important for the new mom to incorporate some form of exercise in her daily routine post-baby as it can help her in several ways, one of which is losing the added pregnancy weight. Contrary to popular belief, though, it’s not as tough to shed the extra weight! Simple exercises and a moderate control in the diet can ensure that you get back to feeling lighter and better.
Top 10 Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat After Pregnancy
Before you start exercising, it is important to remember that your body will require six to eight weeks to recover from the stress of labour and birth. Starting exercise too soon after delivery will delay the recovery process due to additional stress and make you feel tired. It is essential that you consult your doctor and understand the various changes your body has gone through during pregnancy, along with the precautions you will need to take to get back in shape in a healthy manner.
Listed below are a few post-delivery exercises to reduce your belly fat. Following these exercises on a daily basis will help you achieve your goals in a consistent manner and leave you happy and healthy.
- Walking: Walking is an easy workout and is the best way to warm up your body and set it up for more intense exercise. You can start with a leisurely stroll at first and gradually move to brisk walking over a period of a few days. Try walking for 15 minutes every day for at least 5 days a week and increase the walking time gradually. You can take your baby along in a stroller!
2. Basic Stretching and Twisting: Once your body is used to basic walking, you can proceed to basic stretching and twisting. Stretching and twisting will start the process of strengthening and toning your muscles.
3. Pelvic Exercises: Pelvic exercises such as kneeling help tone your tummy and strengthen your abs. To perform the exercise, start on all fours with your arms straight down, palms touching the floor. Your back should be relaxed and not curved or arched. Pull your buttocks forward as you inhale, tilting your pelvis and rotating your pubic bone upward. Hold for three seconds and go back to the original position. Make sure that your stomach muscles are completely relaxed.
4. Bridging Exercises: These exercises will help tone your tummy, bottom, and thigh muscles. To perform this exercise:
- Lie on your back (on the floor, preferably on a yoga mat), bend your knees and slide your feet closer to your buttocks.
- Take a deep breath. While exhaling, tighten your stomach and lift your bottom as high as you can, and hold the position for five to ten seconds. Breathe normally during this time.
- Gradually, lower your bottom to the floor again and rest for three seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
5. Hip Exercises: Doing simple hip exercises will help in toning down the hips and providing strength to the stomach. For this exercise, lie down on a mat on the floor. Put both your hands perpendicular to your body by stretching them out. Next, bend your legs, pull them up, and turn them to the left side while your upper body turns to the right side. Hold this position for five seconds and repeat this exercise 10 times on each side.
6. Sit-Ups: Sit-ups will tone your upper legs and help to cut down the weight on your lower stomach. Start with a few gentle sit-ups initially and proceed to more rigorous sit-ups gradually.
7. Yoga: Yoga is a complete package of exercises for the body and the mind. Yoga is one of the best exercises after pregnancy to reduce your stomach fat. Habituate yourself to perform yoga early in the morning to rejuvenate and energise yourself for the rest of the day. You can practice yoga at home or join classes so that it becomes a part of your routine.
8. Pilates: Pilates strengthens your body and makes it more flexible and balanced. The routine of this exercise involves a series of movements and change in positions that will help improve your body strength and coordination. Ensure that you breathe deeply and relax while performing this exercise.
9. Aerobics Training: Aerobics is an effective option if you want to lose excessive fat gained during pregnancy. Consistent aerobic training will help you burn excess calories and stabilise your metabolism. Make sure to start your aerobic session slowly and increase the intensity as you proceed. Aerobics must be done at least two to three times a week.
10. Abdominal Exercises:
- Abdominal Crunches: Doing crunches is an effective way of reducing post-pregnancy belly fat. Start off slow and do not strain yourself too much. If required, perform the exercise under professional supervision. You can start with 5 crunches a day and gradually increase the number.
- Flutter Kicks: For this exercise, lie on your back with your hands behind, lift your legs above the ground and make quick but gentle motions as if swimming on your back. Flutter kicks will help you lose extra fat in your calves and thighs as well.
Swimming: Swimming helps lose weight and tone body muscles and is refreshing at the same time. You should go swimming only after 6 to 7 weeks after delivery to avoid a chance of infection.
Performing these exercises on a regular basis will help you get back into shape. A simple 25-30 minutes of daily exercise along with a nutritious diet will work wonders for your body and your mind.
Some simple precautions to take when exercising post-pregnancy:
- Always consult your doctor before starting with any exercise. It is important that you rest for about 6 weeks after delivery so as to let your body heal, and you may need to rest for a lot longer if you’ve had a c-section delivery. Regardless, do not start with an exercise routine without consulting your doctor.
- Stay hydrated at all times. Remember that you are still breastfeeding your little one, and your exercise routine should not in any way affect your milk supply. Drink plenty of water during and after exercise.
- Do not push yourself too hard. Some women may feel the need to rush into their pre-pregnancy body and may resort to fad diets or hard exercises to achieve their goals – that can be dangerous for your body as you have most likely not healed completely yet. Remember to start off slow and immediately let go if you find a particular exercise tough.
- Rest. Take enough time to recuperate from any exercise as your body will require more time to relax its muscles.
Taking care of your health is as important as taking care of the baby after delivery. It is essential for mothers to find time from their busy day and follow exercise schedules to stay fit. Getting back in shape does not require extra effort; it only requires a few simple exercises!
Resources and References: Kids Spot