Giving birth and holding your little one in your arms is a blessing and an exciting phase in any woman’s life. Pregnancy changes women in many ways, both physically and emotionally. The reality is that most women are worried about the sagging post-baby belly and stretch marks around the midsection. It’s also common to have a dark line called linea nigra down the abdomen. Getting a flat tummy is a dream come true for many women and simple exercises can help you shed the extra baby weight. Naturally, women will start losing weight after childbirth and when breastfeeding. However, exercising helps to tone your stomach muscles and tighten the tummy.
Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat After Pregnancy Walking
After pregnancy, you should not rush to intense workouts. Start gradually by simply walking at least 15 minutes a day. Increase the distance and walking time slowly as your body adjusts. Take your baby with you during your walks – the added weight will help you burn more fat. Basic walking helps to set your body up for more intense fitness routines.
2. Abdominal Exercises
This is an easy exercise that you can do while standing, sitting, lying on your back, lying on your side or kneeling on all fours. Try pulling your lower stomach inward toward your spine. Hold for about five to 10 seconds and keep breathing normally. Do between four to eight reps, four times a day.
3. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Lie on the floor and lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight. Tighten the muscles around your vagina as if stopping a pee. Hold and count to eight, and then relax for eight seconds. Repeat this exercise eight to 12 times. If you can’t hold for eight seconds, try to hold for as long as you can.
This exercise is quite effective in toning your tummy. Plus, you can do them anywhere. Lay down your mat and place your elbows and arms on the floor. Straighten your legs backward and keep your hips and stomach off the floor. Hold this position for as long as you can and try not to move. At first, you might not be able to maintain the plank position for long. But as you get the hang of it, you can increase the duration. Within weeks you’ll notice impressive results on your tummy.
When starting out, crunches are pretty difficult to do. But this exercise targets your stomach and will give you amazing results. Lie down with your back on the floor and place your hands behind your neck. Fold your legs to about 45 degrees and try to lift up your upper body and move it towards the folded knees. Try to move as close to the knees as possible while keeping your heels on the floor. Repeat 15 to 20 times, three sets per day.
6. Leg Raise
This exercise works your leg muscles as well as tightening your stomach muscles. It will be painful during the first days but will soon pass. Lie down with your back to the floor. Straighten out your hands beside your hips and try to raise both legs at the same time to the same level. Hold and count to four and then slowly release and lower the legs back to the floor. Do 20 reps of two to three sets per day. Gradually increase the time as your body adjusts.
7. Twist and Stretch Your Tummy
A new type of crunching is becoming popular in gyms called ‘Pass the ball’. Lie down with your back to the floor. Raise your legs and cross them. Act as if you’re passing a ball from the left to the right side. Keep your legs raised and repeat as many times as you can.
8. Cycling While Lying Down
This is another simple exercise that can give you amazing results. It strengthens both your legs and tummy muscles. Lie with your back to the floor and bend your knees. Place your hands at the back of your head and start cycling in the air. To push yourself harder, try to bring the right knee as close as possible to your left elbow and do the same with your left knee. Start gradually and increase the duration as you get used to it. Other exercises that you can do safely after pregnancy include:
- Swimming (only do this when bleeding has completely stopped)
- Cycling (only do this when bleeding has completely stopped)
- Low-impact aerobics
If you can find an exercise buddy, it will make this easier and also motivate you. Most of the exercises above can be done at home with your baby on the floor next to you. Don’t get into high-impact exercises too quickly. Cough and jump to check if you leak any urine. If you don’t, then you can safely and slowly start incorporating high-impact fitness routine. Talk to your doctor if you notice anything that concerns you such as feeling a sense of pressure in your vagina, swelling in your vagina, having trouble emptying your bladder or bowel or if you’re still leaking a three months after childbirth. Remember, your safety and health and that of your child should be given top priority.
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