A healthy postnatal exercise regime is an essential step towards recovery. It helps you get back into shape and relieves stress, helps in body balance, combats anxiety and depression, and strengthens or re-energises your body.
However, you should be aware of the limitations when it comes to postnatal exercise. Pregnancy and labour are quite challenging for your body. Several issues linger on long after you've given birth. Pelvic floor dysfunction, diastasis recti, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back are just some of them. The structural changes and weak or tight muscles can worsen with the wrong exercise. Hence, you should listen to your body when you decide to start working out again. A certified postnatal specialist can help you in determining any issues you may have.
As a new mum, you may feel pressed for time. Your little bundle of joy needs your attention, and you may feel like there is no time for exercise. However, instead of trying to squeeze workouts in between your baby's naps, you can now workout with your baby and have just as much fun together. This will help promote bonding between you and your baby while giving you the time to do something for yourself.
There are several ways to exercise with your baby. You can use a stroller, a baby carrier, or just your baby for working out at home!
Start the mum and bub workouts with a quick warmup. Use light, dynamic movements to warm up the joints and muscles.
- Shrug your shoulders and relax them.
- Raise your arms above your head and then across your body to warm up the arms, neck and shoulders. Repeat this a few times.
Circle your ankles, letting them warm up.
- Lunge forward lightly on each side to loosen knees and hip muscles.
- With bent knees, do some roll-downs and roll-ups to warm up the back and hamstrings.
Mum and Bub Stroller Workout
If you want to get some fresh air with the exercise, just pop your little one into a stroller and go for a walk. There are also some fun baby-friendly moves you can try.
Jumping leg curls with lift intervals
This workout targets your hips, thighs, glutes and abdomen.
- Start by facing your baby in the stroller. Unlock stroller wheels, and make sure the ground is levelled, so the stroller doesn’t roll off.
- Do hopscotch jumps for 30 seconds by alternating between a jump on two legs, a jump with one leg behind, jump on two legs and jump with the other leg bent behind.
Mum and Bub Carrier Workout
While extremely fun, the carrier can be hard to incorporate in mum and bub workouts. Discuss with your GP about the carrier that suits you and your little one. You can also use a soft wrap.
This workout targets your deltoids, biceps and triceps.
A carrier frees up your arms. Now you can hold two water bottles or 0.5 kg weights for a quick arm workout.
- Hold a weight in each hand and stand with your legs wide apart. Keep your knees soft and pull in the lower abs.
- Reach out with both arms, elbows slightly bent. Do 20 forward small circles and 20 back small circles. Repeat twice.
Dancing is a light cardiovascular exercise involving all major muscle groups. It improves your balance and coordination and is so much fun! You can hold your baby or use a baby carrier that supports the head. Put on some music you like and dance with your abs pulled in.
No matter what exercise you choose, make sure that your GP clears it, and it is fun for your bub and you!