Hey mama! Congratulations on your new baby and we’re sure you can’t wait to get back into action to start working out. Don’t forget, we all heal at a different pace, but a good indication of how well you’re healing would be to get the ‘all clear’ from your doctor when you go for your six weeks check-up. Before then, walking and light exercise is great. Grab the stroller, the baba, and get some fresh air.
Fitness instructor, mother of three, and former Women’s Health Next Fitness Star Finalist, Phia-Lee Rabie shares her top four core recovery exercises, that will tighten the corset and slim your waistline, after childbirth.
1/ The Vacum
Perform these postpartum exercises standing, sitting or lying down.
- Take a deep breath in and on the exhale, draw the belly button in and up towards your spine squeeze out all the air.
- Hold your breath forming a vacuum when you can’t hold your breath any more breath slowly keeping your belly button drawn.
- Perform this hold as long as you can or do a 30-second hold for 5 sets.
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2/ Vacuum Twist
Perform these postpartum exercises while standing.
- Do the vacuum hold (drawn in holding your breath) and add an upper-body twist with hands behind your head.
- Keep the movement smooth with 10 reps and work up to 20 reps for 5 sets.
3/ Heal Taps
Performed lying down with knees bent.
- Place your hands under your bottom for extra support.
- Draw the belly button in and keep your upper body on the floor.
- Curl up the lower body knees towards your chest.
- Rollback down and tap the heels on the floor that’s one rep. Start with 30sec 4 to 5 sets.
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Performed lying down, with knees bent and feet flat.
- Draw the belly button in and slowly slide the one leg down the floor to straighten it out, then slide it back.
- Take a deep breath, draw in the belly button, and repeat on the other side.
- Do 4 to 5 sets per side. Increase your reps as you get stronger.
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Postpartum exercises: a word from the expert
Gynaecologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Dr Natalia Novikova, says postpartum exercises are very important for maintaining general health and mental wellbeing. “There are different ways of getting back to exercise. It’s possible to return to physical exercise within a few weeks of giving birth if you had a vaginal birth and within four weeks after Caesarean section,” she says.
Dr Novikova advises, if you suffer from medical illnesses or have had complications with your pregnancy, it’s advisable to consult your treating doctor regarding the return to physical activity. “Listen to your body, don’t overstretch — stop if you are sore. I suggest finding time every day for at least 30 minutes workout,” she says.
Tiredness and lack of sleep make it very hard to get into any exercise routine, but once you start exercising your energy levels will improve and you will be happier so it’s certainly worth trying to fit it in. Any exercises will work well — lunges, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, yoga, core exercises, spinning, swimming.