Oh, the days of joy have arrived—you’re back home with your little cutie pie. First of all, congrats!
Now that you’ve heard yet another “congratulations,” it’s time to take a look at your wellness situation. And it’s probably safe to say that things have changed a bit, especially around your belly area.
Don’t sweat it. You’re a mom—you just went through a difficult period of time and gave birth. You rock! But let’s see what you can do to get your body back on track. You’ll shed extra weight from the torso in no time with the exercises below.
What Happens to the Core During Pregnancy?
Your core consists of all the muscles located in your midsection, including your back and hips. You probably know that pregnancy does not-so-nice things to those areas. Abdominal muscles get stretched and weakened. Back muscles get overworked and shortened. Hips seem to get wider. Yes, that’s all normal, and it’s what you should expect during this period.
But have no worries—you will get back on track. However, before you dig into the exercises below, know that you need to take extra care not to injure yourself. If you’re using at-home exercise equipment, make sure you have a flat, wide space big enough to move around in.
If you train in a gym, make sure that there’s enough room for you and that your personal trainer knows what you’ve recently been through.
Don’t think about weights yet!
For a start, lie down on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent, feet resting on the floor. Inhale and exhale a few times, but don’t flatten your back or tilt your pelvis. Just let the natural curve in your spine remain. And go easy with breathing. Slow inhale, slow exhale.
Next, breathe out and tighten your belly muscles, pulling your navel towards your spine and holding the contraction for five seconds. Remember to keep breathing as you hold and try to repeat these contractions five to ten times in a few sets per day.
The gist is to focus on contracting the muscles below your tummy during each exhale. You shouldn’t move your back while doing so.
This exercise requires you to lie down on your back on the floor. Brace your abs by contracting your entire abdomen as if you were preparing to get hit in the stomach.
This is the starting position for this exercise. Once you get in the position, perform different movements such as raising one or both arms over your head. Or extend your legs while keeping your back flat against the floor.
Again, your back needs to be flat on the floor, and you shouldn’t move it. If you do, the exercise won’t be as effective.
The third exercise also requires you to lie on your back. However, this time you should bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, or placed on the ball.
Next, brace your abdomen and tilt your pelvis back by pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then repeat.
Don’t overdo this in the beginning. Start with five to ten reps and do a few sets in one day. If the pain gets too strong, stop the activity.
Listen to your body. This is an extremely sensitive period for your core muscles, and you shouldn’t overdo exercises because you can hurt yourself.
Time to sit on the floor!
Take a seat on the floor with your knees bent. Brace your abdomen, and slightly lean your torso back while lifting your feet off the floor.
Lift until your shins are parallel with the floor, your back is straight, and your hips are flexed to ninety degrees.
Extend your arms forward, but put them in a comfortable position to help maintain your balance. Don’t overreach because you will likely lose balance and have a painful experience.
Finally, hold there for at least thirty seconds.
Put your elbows on the top of a stability ball and extend your legs out behind. Brace your abdomen and hips with your back straight.
Hold in that position for at least half a minute. That’s it. The exercise is just a standard plank, but with the extra instability added by the ball. In turn, the exercise becomes more difficult, which activates your muscles more. And that’s what you want here.
The last exercise is another version of the plank.
Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder. Stack your hips and feet while stabilizing your core. Lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line. Then hold for at least thirty seconds.
Repeat on the other side. That’s it, the whole philosophy behind the exercise. Add ten to twenty leg lifts to the side plank to boost hip strength and stability.
Good luck! Take it easy, and everything will be just fine. Listen to your body. If you start to feel pain, stop and rest.
It’s essential that you do each exercise properly and don’t overdo it. This is a sensitive period and everything should be done with extra care.
Image from Unsplash.