During pregnancy your exercise routine should consist of the following:
Cardiovascular activity helps strengthen the heart and lungs and burns excess fat. You should remember not to start vigorous routine such as jogging, running, aerobics, and so on, immediately post partum.
Core stands for the mid section of your body that is the abdomen and the lower back. During pregnancy, this area gets weakened and stretched. So, it is very important to strengthen the muscles of your core.
Although, you must be very eager to start working out on mostly your abdomen thinking it will help lose fat around the belly. Remember, you cannot spot reduce fat from only that area of your body you are interested in. It is always a combination of cardiovascular activity, strength / weight training and right nutrition which will help you lose fat from your abdomen. You may lose fat from the upper abdomen faster whereas the lower abdomen may take longer as women store excess fat here, especially after pregnancy. So take it easy and keep patience.
You may start with gentle Yoga, Pilates and Kegel exercises which will help strengthen these muscles and keep you flexible. But if you have Diastasis (Abdominal separation where the right and left sides of the abdomen spread apart at the body’s mid line after pregnancy), you should strictly take the advice of your doctor.
Kegel exercises are those in which the small muscles around the vaginal wall are contracted in a certain manner. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic muscles which get weak during pregnancy.
Pilate’s exercises are again used to strengthen the core muscles. You should start with the basics. Certain basic yoga poses are also good to start with as they will take care of keeping you stress free and ensure proper blood circulation.
Gradually, when you become stronger, you may switch over to the traditional abdomen workout routines.
Training different parts of your body with an external resistance (Dumbbells, Tubings, Machines and so on) are an important component of a weight loss and recovery plan. It helps you strengthen your muscles and makes you stronger to resume your daily activities along with taking care of your baby.
For instance, if you train your arms with weights, you will not get tired holding your baby in your arms for long.
Whether you have lifted weights pre-pregnancy or not, don’t forget to start easy. Use light weights and start with the basics. Training with fitness professionals will help, as you will be better guided and will prevent any kind of injury.
How to deal with obstacles to exercise?
Adhering to an exercise regime can be tough during the initial months after giving birth. But it is always possible to take some way out.
Tiredness and Fatigue: After childbirth, you are always on your toes trying to look after the baby in the best possible ways 24 x 7. Especially when you are breast feeding, your energy gets depleted very fast. This is because breast feeding requires an extra 300 to 500 calories a day depending upon whether you have twins or a big baby. It is an energy demanding process. Make sure you eat sensibly and don’t go on a “diet”. This is not the time to restrict your calories too much. This will also help in keeping your energy levels high.
Time Restrictions and Erratic Routine: After delivery, in the first few weeks and months you may find that you have only a few minutes here and there for exercise. Baby’s feeding routine may get changed; you may not be sleeping enough, making it tough to adhere to an exercise routine.
Take advantage of whatever time you have and spread your exercising routine throughout the day. Short exercise routines, say 3 sessions of 10 minutes, in a day are as effective as continuous workouts. For example, while your baby is asleep, take some stairs up and down or walk around the house, do stationary cycling, and so on.
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