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Pregnancy is a time of great change and growth for a woman and her baby. A healthy diet and prenatal care are essential, but exercise is also important – especially in the post-pregnancy period. Core exercises can help you regain your strength and stability after giving birth. Let's discuss the importance of core exercises and what you need to know to get started. Happy exercising!
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many different changes. The extra weight that comes with carrying a baby can put a strain on the lower back and pelvic region. As the baby grows, the abdominal muscles can become separated (diastasis recti), which can cause even more instability and pain.
Core exercises are a vital part of recovering postpartum since they can help you strengthen your abdominal muscles. Plus, you’ll also improve stability in the pelvis and the lower back. Stronger core muscles can also help to prevent or reduce back pain and improve posture. Core exercises can also help to heal diastasis recti by bringing the separated muscles closer together.Stronger core muscles can help to prevent or reduce back pain and improve posture.
Proper breathing is important for all types of exercise, but it is especially important when doing core exercises. When you hold your breath during exercise, you increase your blood pressure and put unnecessary strain on your heart. Be sure to breathe deeply and slowly throughout your workout.
As you exhale, draw your navel toward your spine to engage your deep abdominal muscles. This will help to protect your lower back and improve the effectiveness of the exercises.
Here are 6 safe and effective core exercises that you can do after pregnancy:
Lie on your back. Bend both of your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. Place one of your hands on your stomach, and take a slow, steady, deep breath in. As you exhale, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the ground, keeping your back straight. Reach your right hand toward your left ankle as you simultaneously extend your left leg straight out. Return to the beginning position and repeat the same thing on the other side.
Kegels are an important part of post-pregnancy exercise because they help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder and help to control urination. To do a Kegel, squeeze the muscles that you use to stop urinating. Hold for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times.
Start the exercise by lying on your back. Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place one hand on your stomach and breathe in. As you exhale, tilt your pelvis upward. The goal is to have your lower back flatten completely against the ground. Return to the original starting position and repeat another 10 times.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hand on your stomach and take a deep breath in. As you exhale, straighten one of your legs out until it’s parallel with the ground. Return your leg to the starting position, and repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hand on your stomach and take a deep breath in. Exhale, and as you do, lift your hips off the ground and into the bridge position. Hold this position for about 10 seconds. Then, return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
First, get into the tabletop position on the ground. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, extend your right leg straight back and your left arm straight forward. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
While there are many safe and effective exercises that you can do after pregnancy, there are also some exercises that should be avoided.
Both sit-ups and crunches should be avoided; unfortunately, they can put unnecessary strain and stress on your lower back. If you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles, try one of the core exercises listed above.
Another exercise to avoid is the overhead press. This exercise can also put strain on your lower back. If you want to strengthen your shoulders, try a dumbbell front raise instead.
Finally, avoid any type of exercise that involves jumping or bouncing. These types of movements can jar your spine and worsen any back pain that you may be experiencing.
If you have any questions about whether or not an exercise is safe for you to do, consult your doctor or physical therapist.
Start slowly and progress gradually. Don't try to do too much too soon.
Don't hold your breath while doing the exercises.
Focus on quality over quantity. It is better to do a few reps with good form than to do more reps with poor form.
Stop if you feel pain. If an exercise causes pain, stop and try another one.
Be consistent. The best way to see results is to do the exercises regularly. 3 times per week is a good goal to start with.
If you are having trouble doing the exercises on your own or if you have any pain in your lower back or pelvic region, it is a good idea to see a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help you to safely progress through the exercises and can give you additional exercises to help address your specific needs.
As you begin to recover from giving birth, remember to take things slow and to not push yourself too hard. By following these exercises recommended above, you'll be able to exercise safely and regain your core strength in no time!