You’ve delivered your baby and had your six-week checkup, and your doctor has given you the all-clear to begin exercising again. Exercise after pregnancy will help you get your body back quickly and may keep your mood up and prevent postpartum depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. Combine strength building, cardiovascular and core-enhancing exercises to get the healthiest you possible.
Just because you have a baby now doesn’t mean you need to abandon your long walks or runs. Strap the baby in a stroller and push him in front of you while you go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood or through the local park. You may want to invest in a jogging stroller if you like to run. Take it easy at first and don’t expect to run as far as you did before your pregnancy and delivery. You’ll get back up there in time. An indoor exercise bike may also be a good investment so that you can get some cardio in while the baby naps. If you are breastfeeding, try to schedule your running or walking after your baby feeds, not before. Wear a supportive bra designed for breastfeeding women to prevent soreness.
While you were pregnant, a gap may have formed between your abdominal muscles, according to Baby Center. After birth, the gap should close, but it may take some time. Start out with less strenuous abdominal exercises, such as the pelvic tilt. Lie flat on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back flat on the floor and tilt your pelvis upward, holding it for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. You can also start out with the leg slide to get your stomach muscles back in shape. Lie flat on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Slowly strengthen one leg, then return to the bent position. Repeat on the other leg, then repeat 10 times. As your stomach muscles return to normal and become stronger, add in more rigorous exercises, such as crunches or stomach curls.
Yoga will help you restrengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and get some flexibility back. Try the child’s pose combined with kegel exercises to boost your pelvic floor muscles, according to Nora Isaacs at Yoga Journal. Sit on your calves and bend forward, placing your forehead to the floor. Your arms can stretch out in front or rest on the floor beside you. Squeeze your pelvic muscles as if you were holding in urine and hold for five seconds. Release, then repeat 10 times. Try balance poses such as tree, eagle or warrior 2 to steady yourself and build up your endurance.