Postpartum Fitness Made Easy
Especially during the sleep-deprived first weeks after delivery, exercising may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, there are some simple moves you can start making as soon as your body feels up to it that can make all the difference in rebounding your body post-birth. Finding clever ways to sneak little toning and strengthening moves into your daily routine with baby will help you to feel more confident, less apt to react with aversion and exhaustion to the prospect of "working out" and restore your core strength sufficiently to make toting your little one around a whole lot easier.
Here are some very simple ways to slip a little fitness into your routine without really noticing it:
(1) Use your legs rather than bending at the waist every opportunity you get. For example, while unloading the dishwasher, squat down to remove the items and side lunge to get them to their location, then side lunge back to the dishwasher. This should give you a solid 3-5 minutes of leg toning exercise and burn a few calories while you're at it. The best part: you can do it with baby on board.
(2) Bicep curl your baby. That's right. Babies make excellent hand weights. Grip your little one in palms up fashion and curl your arms up until the baby is at your throat. Be sure to maintain a stationary stance with your elbows.
(3) Airplane crunches for your lower abs will bust that lower belly fat fast! Lay flat on your back, with your legs at a 90-degree angle from the floor, knees directly above your hips. Place the baby on your calf bones and hold hands while you gently roll you tailbone up a few inches, creating tension below your bellybutton. Imagine that you are trying to shrink the space between your pubic bone and belly button. Repeat until you feel the burn!
(4) Dance your baby to sleep and burn calories at the same time. Gently dancing your way around the house to soothing music, being sure to include leg extensions and plies, is one of the easiest ways to bust your buns and feel better about your body. Babies love the rhythmic motion of dance because it's remnant of the rocking and swaying of being in utero. Holding your baby while doing side kicks and other moves which elevate the legs and rotate the hip joint so as to target the often challenging thighs and derriere will whip your body into shape more quickly than rocking in a chair.
(5) Do the twist! Even if the chore at hand doesn't require bending down, you can strengthen your obliques and abdomen by using these muscles to twist your midsection about your spine as your reach left or right for certain objects. For example, if you're reaching for something on the counter to your left, twist and reach for it with your right arm. The idea is to get your body to make larger, more sweeping motions with just about everything you do.
Obviously, the simple act of bringing conscious awareness to your core muscles as you go about your daily routine will offer an opportunity to strengthen your core and improve your posture. When you're using your muscles correctly, you will use more calories and improve strength simply by using your musculature correctly. See my book Your Orgasmic Pregnancy: Little Sex Secrets Every Hot Mama Should Know and/or participate in one of our fall call-in teleseminars for handy tips about breathing, yoga postures and simple exercises to infuse your routine with feel-good movements without going above and beyond your commitment and energy levels in the months immediately following your birth.