With a new little one in the home, it brings on a new and exciting time! Whether it is the first, second, third, or fourth child. With this excitement, it can also bring on exhaustion and sleep deprivation, so the last thing on a new mother’s mind may be to start exercising.
However, research has shown that starting exercise soon after birth is good for a mother’s overall health and well-being. It has also been shown to help reduce postpartum depression.
Benefits of exercise for new moms include increased energy, reduced stress levels, better overall mood, improved cardio, and restoring muscle strength that was lost during pregnancy and birth.
Of course, always consult a doctor or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.
During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor get stretched and weakened. Along with a weakened core, pregnancy and child birth can bring on structural changes in the pelvis and loosened joints and ligaments. Pregnancy hormones can stay in the body for months after childbirth, especially while breastfeeding. This means that injury can be increased in the new mother. Before jumping back into a full exercise program, the body needs to recover and the core muscles need to be strengthened.
The core is the foundation of every movement in the body. A weak core can lead to back pain, incontinence, or poor posture.
Here are 5 safe and effective exercise for the core:
1. Pelvic Tilts:
- Lie on your back with the knees bent and both feet on the floor. To start, keep your spine in neutral position, maintaining the natural curve in your spine.
- As you exhale, gently rock your hips as you flatten your low back to the floor. Hold for a few seconds.
- Inhale and return to your neutral position.
- Repeat 1-15 times
2. Belly Breathing:
- Start from your hands and knees.
- As you inhale through your nose, allow your belly to fill with air. Completely relaxing the tummy muscles.
- As you exhale, move your belly button up towards your spine. It may help to Imagine that your belly button is an elevator moving up the elevator shaft to floors one, two, three, four, and five.
- Pause for a second at each “floor.”
- Inhale through your nose again and imagine the elevator moving back down to the ground floor (your belly button).
- Pause for a moment at the end of each inhale and exhale.
- Repeat 5-10 times
3. Heel Slides
- Lie on your back with the knees bent and both feet on the floor. Lift your toes up so that your feet are flexed.
- Inhale through your nose, and allow your belly to fill up with air.
- Exhale and engage your deep abdominal muscles. Then slowly slide your heel along the mat until your leg is straight. The slower this exercise is, the better.
- Slide your heel back in to starting position. Alternated legs.
- Repeat for 8-10 times
4. Heel Tap:
- Lie on your back with the knees bent and both feet on the floor. To start, keep your spine in neutral position. Raise both legs to a 90-degree angle.
- Engage your core and very slowly lower one heel down to touch the floor, while exhaling. Making sure your lower back does not pop up.
- Inhale and bring your leg back up to meet the other leg, and repeat on the other side.
- Repeat 5-10 times on each side
5. Bird Dog:
- Starting from your hands and knees. With your core engaged and belly button to your spine, slowly lift and extend your left arm and right leg; hold, then lower
- Repeat on the opposite side, lifting right arm and left leg.
- Repeat 5-10 times on each side.