There may be no greater pleasure than bringing your little baby into this world. But pregnancy also takes a great toll on your body and post-pregnancy weight gain can be a disappointment and a source of stress for many. But the good thing is you do not have to do a thousand crunches to lose that baby belly. All you need is some patience and dedication to ease back into your fitness routine.
Hence, we at The Week spoke to Shamsher Rana, gym instructor at Next Step Fitness in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, to help you get started on your quest for a toned body post pregnancy. However, Rana advises you to get back to the gym only six months after giving birth and also to consult a physician to make sure that your exercise plan is safe for you.
A slow start
According to Rana, women must wait for the bleeding to stop before they get into any kind of tedious exercises. Pushing your body in the beginning, before it has had time to heal, can have some really grave eath consequences. So it is better to perform some simple exercises in the first six weeks such as walking and only perform slightly heavier exercises once the bleeding stops.
“Start your mild workout plan only after six to eight weeks. About 10 to 30 minutes of cardio each day is the best way to reduce baby weight,” says Rana. “First start with a warm-up. While warming up, march slowly in place. Do not forget to move your hands to heat up your upper body,” he adds.
After warm-up one can start off with their cardio exercise. Cardio can include cycling, running, brisk walking or climbing the stairs. These activities need to be done at a moderate pace for two minutes and then at a slower pace for next one minute. “Continue with two minutes moderate exercises and one minute slow exercise for about 20-25 minutes. After this you can cool your body down with slow march in place or a walk at an easy pace for about three minutes,” says Rana.
“After cardio exercises, you can do certain exercises targeting specific body parts. But this can be done only six to eight weeks after pregnancy under expert supervision,” says Rana.
For cross knees, lie down on the floor, facing the ceiling. Then, bend your elbows straight at 90 degrees and bend your knees so that it is close to your upper body. Your toes should touch the floor.
Keeping your body still, bring both your knees to the right side then quickly switch to the left. Make sure your toes are touching the floor throughout. Repeat this exercise for about two minutes before you move on to your next exercise. This is great for the abs and legs.
Lie down on the floor, facing up. Place your arms straight on the sides and your feet flat on the floor. Then lift your hips off the floor and let your body form a straight slanting line from your knees to shoulders. Try holding on for about 10 seconds.
After that, extend your right leg diagonally up. Maintain that position for about 10 to 30 seconds. The next step is to lower your hips on the floor with your legs straight up and then bring your hips back up again. Repeat this step for about eight times and then switch legs.
For plank, start with push up position, bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your palms. Face towards the floor and make sure your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for about 10 to 30 seconds.
The next step is to twist your waist so that your right hip becomes closer to the floor and return back to plank position. Then twist again so that your left hip becomes closer to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 12 times. This exercise focuses primarily on your abs and oblique.
Keep your back straight and your chin up. Then step with your right leg forward lowering your upper body. Lower your hips so that both your knees are bent in about 90 degrees angle. “Hold on this position for about 10 seconds and make sure your body is straight and your chin up,” says Rana.
Slowly take your hands up and get back to your normal standing position. Repeat the same steps with your left leg forward. This exercise is extremely good for toning shoulders, hips, abs and legs. Perform this exercise for about eight times each day.
Lie down on the floor bending your knees. Throw a towel across the knees and grab each end of the towel. Pull the ends of your towel and lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold for about ten seconds and make sure you are breathing in and out normally. Let your abs muscles contract and release while you breathe in and out. Repeat this process for about eight to 10 time. This strengthens the transverse muscles and also strengthens your lower back.
Pro tips Make sure you do not push yourself to the extreme. Do as much as your body allows.
Do not lift weights at home after pregnancy. Even if you do, do it under expert supervision from your gym instructor.
Make sure you are getting enough nutrients and at regular intervals.
Do not hesitate to tell your instructor about any kind of pain you may experience during and after workout.