Simple exercises for new moms

July 22, 2021 | by Melanie Kirschten

After months of pregnancy, your baby is finally here. It’s an exciting time!

Let’s keep it real though. Your body has gone through some big changes, including the most obvious — weight gain. The average woman gains 30 pounds during pregnancy, and many moms are eager to lose those pregnancy pounds.

First, it’s important to remember that it took roughly nine months to gain that weight, so it’s going to take a while to lose it. Stay consistent with your workouts and combine proper diet with cardiovascular and resistance exercises. Take it one day at a time.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends starting exercise as soon as it is medically and physically safe. Speak with your doctor first about when is a good time for you to resume exercising.

If you had a C-section, your body will need even more time to heal. Again, talk with your doctor to create a safe exercise plan. Remember to start slowly and use caution, especially when working on your midsection.

The American Council on Exercise recommends building up to 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise (biking, walking, swimming, jogging, etc.) for 3-6 days per week, in addition to performing resistance training 2-3 days per week.

Here are a few lower body, upper body and core exercises that are recommended for new moms:

Lower body exercises:

  • Bridges: Lie on your back. Bend both legs with feet flat. Raise glutes while keeping your core tight. Pause for a few seconds then lower glutes back down to the floor.
  • Squats: Stand in front of a chair. Place feet hip-width apart. Keeping your core tight, bend your legs and shift your hips back as if you are going to sit on the chair. Rise back up and squeeze your glutes.
  • Lunges: Place one leg forward and one leg back. Keep your back heel off the floor. Keeping core tight, bend both legs making sure your front knee stays above your ankle and back knee stays below your hip. Raise back up and squeeze glutes.
  • Kegels: Squeeze pelvic floor muscles. Note: Many women do Kegels while urinating. Try to stop urinating midstream for a few seconds then release.

Upper body/core exercises:

  • Supermans: Lay face down on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Squeeze your glutes, engage your core and lift both arms and legs toward the ceiling. Hold for 3-5 seconds and come back down.
  • Planks: Get into pushup position. Place your hands under shoulders. Keep core tight, hips down and square to the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can. NOTE: If this is too hard on your wrists, place forearms on the floor with elbows directly under shoulders.
  • Bicycle maneuver: Lay on your back. Place your hands behind your neck, legs bent. While moving one leg in toward chest and one leg away from your body, twist torso while bringing opposite elbow to opposite knee. Try not to let your feet touch floor.
  • Bicep curls: While keeping your upper arms at your sides and not moving, raise forearms without curling wrists. For resistance, use bands, dumbbells or even cans of soup.
  • Chair dips: Place your hands on the seat of a chair. Carefully remove yourself off the chair. While keeping elbows tucked in, lower your body by bending arms. Raise your body by straightening arms. Don’t lock out elbows.

Finding time to exercise can be quite challenging while caring for a newborn, but it’s still possible. Lean on the support of your family and friends to make time for self-care.

Take it one day at a time and one workout at a time. Remember to combine proper diet with cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Stay consistent.

Remember: Happy mom, happy baby.

Need help with your post-pregnancy workout routine? A fitness specialist can help you develop a fitness program that works for you.

Drive your health forward at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

Our Fitness Centers have measures in place to keep you safe in the gym during the pandemic. Learn more.

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