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  • Johnny Roberts

The best postpartum exercises

The primary goal in the postpartum period is to move your body and do movements that make you feel good and recover faster. The most important thing in the postpartum period is getting your core strength back and your pelvic floor muscle tight again. I would recommend focusing on the diaphragm, transverse abdominis muscles, and the pelvic floor. Cardio is fine, but I would keep it to lighter cardio and focus the most on rebuilding your core strength.

Let me run through some of the best activities and exercises you can do just after giving birth:

1. Pelvic floor exercises

If you followed your doctor’s instructions during pregnancy, there’s a good chance your body already knows how to do a pelvic floor exercise. Continuing these exercises during the postpartum period can help you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

  1. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (the ones used to stop the flow of urination).

  2. Hold for 10 seconds.

  3. Repeat throughout the day.

2. Diaphragm breathing

Diaphragmatic or deep breathing is an exercise you can begin within the first few days of giving birth. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath can help you relax and reduce stress. It can also improve core stability and slow your rate of breathing. You can perform this breathing exercise seated or lying down.

  1. Lie flat on the floor on a yoga mat.

  2. Relax your body, focusing on releasing the tension from your toes to the top of your head.

  3. Put a hand on your chest and another on your stomach.

  4. Take a deep breath in through the nose. This will expand your stomach, but your chest should remain relatively still. Breathe in for 2 to 3 seconds.

  5. Exhale slowly while keeping one and on the chest and one on the stomach.

  6. Repeat several times for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Walking

The first few months after delivery is an excellent time to get out and start walking. Here is your chance to get our a use that new buggy you invested in. Walking, while pushing a newborn, will give your body an amazing workout, especially if you can find a route with some hills.

As you get stronger, consider stopping every 10 to 15 minutes and performing a few body=weight squats. If the weather is nice, take your baby out of the stroller and hold them in front of you while squatting. The extra resistance will really give your backside a boost.

4. Swiss ball plank variations

This exercise helps with stability, posture, and reduces low back pain.

  1. Lay down on top of the ball, so that your torso covers the ball. Your body will be in a straight line, with your palms flat on the floor and toes touching the ground.

  2. Looking down at the floor, lift and reach your left foot and right arm at the same time. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds.

  3. Return to the starting position and change sides.

  4. Alternate sides for 20 total repetitions.

5. Cat stretch

The cat stretch is a beginner yoga move that helps to support back muscles, strengthens the core, and promotes mobility in the spine. Including this move in your postpartum workouts can help reduce back pain, promote relaxation, and improve circulation.

  1. Get on the floor on all fours. Keep your back flat, spine neutral, and gaze looking down at the floor. Your wrists will be directly under your shoulders and knees under hips.

  2. Inhale and take a deep breath. On the exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling. Your head and tailbone will move closer to each other.

  3. Hold in the cat position for 1 to 2 seconds. Then, inhale, arch your back, and lift your tailbone and head toward the sky as you relax your belly to the floor to move to the cow position.

  4. Do this continuously for about 60 seconds.

6. Swiss ball glute bridge

The glute bridge exercise is great for pelvic floor and core stabilisation. It works the abdominal muscles, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. You will need a stability or exercise ball to perform this move.

  1. Start with your back flat on the ground, knees bent, and stability ball by your feet.

  2. Place your feet flat on the ball, press through the heels, and raise your hips into the air. Use your glute and hamstring muscles to assist. Your shoulders and upper back will remain in contact with the floor, and your body should be in a straight line.

  3. Hold at the top for a few seconds and return to the starting position while keeping the ball still.

  4. Perform 3 to 4 sets, 10 to 20 repetitions each set.

7. Side plank leg lifts

The side plank leg lift is a variation of the standard plank. It’s more advanced, so you may want to save this move for 6 to 8 weeks postpartum. This exercise will work your glutes, obliques, and to a lesser degree, the shoulder muscles.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor and elbows beneath shoulders. Your feet will be flexed with toes on the floor.

  2. Go on one forearm and turn sideways.

  3. Raise your body off the floor to get into a side plank position.

  4. Raise your top leg and hold it in the air for 20 to 30 seconds or repeatedly perform leg raises until the time is up.

  5. Perform 1 to 2 sets on each side.

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