As you know – or are about to find out – having a baby takes up a lot of your time. They need your constant attention. This means that other things, such as exercise, drop down the priority list.
You need to focus on building up the strength you lost in pregnancy and birth. Being a mother is very strenuous! You’ll find yourself picking your baby up, bending down to fetch dummies, heaving heavy prams out of the car … you need to be strong.
Here are a few exercises you can start doing as soon as you are mobile (you will have to wait for sign off from your doctor before going to the gym and resuming strenuous exercise).
The earlier you start doing them, the stronger you will be when you do start exercising properly…
Pelvic floor exercises
The traditional “hold in your pee” exercise is a good place to start as this can be done sitting or standing almost anywhere. Try holding for 5-10 seconds to begin with and try to do these a couple of times a day. Once you are on your feet, think about your posture when walking, bending down, going up stairs and try to stand up tall whilst pulling your belly button gently inwards and upwards towards your spine. This will not only promote good posture, but it will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles in a functional and useful way.
This can be forgotten once the baby arrives but correct posture can prevent a whole host of problems. Almost everything a new mum is required to do promotes the rounding of shoulders. Bad posture is actually one of the most common reasons why postnatal women experience pain when they start exercising again so start thinking about it now!
From breastfeeding and cradling the baby, to pushing the heavy buggy around your arms will be hunched over in front of you. This hunched posture, known as thoracic kyphosis, causes a protrusion of the head and shoulders and curvature of the spine. Take a look at yourself in shop windows as you walk past and make sure you are standing up straight, holding your head up and your shoulders down. Fixing your posture at this early stage will help to eliminate neck and back ache which you will thank yourself for later because adding a physio appointment into your new schedule is the last thing you want!
Plenty of walking
This can easily be incorporated into your daily routine as a new mum and costs you nothing. Walking is much less hassle than loading and unloading a baby and buggy into the car so plan ahead and leave plenty of time to walk to the shops or to meet your friends. There are plenty of benefits to walking, not only is it a great form of cardiovascular exercise but the fresh air will do wonders for your emotional wellbeing too. Your baby might even sleep in the buggy too!
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