If you are looking at starting a weightloss program post pregnancy, be sure that your body is ready. Most women will require a minimum of 12 to 16 weeks of exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor and abdominal muscles before being able to return to a normal exercise routine. It is very important that your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles have regained sufficient strength before you recommence sport, aerobics, running or heavy lifting. Please speak to your doctor before commencing any exercise program.

Women often incorrectly believe sport and other high-impact exercise will strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. But participating in sport, running or other high-impact activities during pregnancy and early after childbirth may actually reduce pelvic floor muscle strength and cause long-term bladder and bowel problems, including the risk of prolapse (a condition where the uterus is dislocated) which requires surgical repair.

So a gradual increase in the intensity of an exercise programme is recommended; you should not experience any back pain, pelvic or vaginal heaviness or urine loss during or after exercise. If you do, slow down immediately. Your body will indicate how much it has healed post-pregnancy. The most important rule is that nothing should hurt with activity. Only when it does should you advance to regular workout routines.

You can start with

Squats
Strengthen your thighs, hips and buttocks.

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart.
  2. Cross your hands across and holding your shoulder.
  3. Push your hips back and lower your buttocks down till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knees protrude ahead of your toes. Also make sure your knees are not pointing towards each other.
  4. Exhale and push your hips up with your heel.

Bridges
Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes; stabilize your hips.

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent, feet a little distance apart.
  2. Keeping your back flat on the floor, pull your core muscle in and push up to make your hips form a bridge.
  3. Squeeze the buttocks and hamstrings and hold this position for 8 to 10 seconds and then return to start position. Exhale as you push up.

Bird Dog exercises
Strengthen your back, especially the lower back as well as your core muscles.

  1. Support your body on your hands and knees.
  2. Holding your abdomen and pelvic muscle tight, lift and stretch your right arm forward and your left leg back, both parallel to the floor. Hold this for 5 to 8 seconds, and repeat 10 times on either side.

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Written by Roshini Gilbert

Roshini Gilbert

After a diligent workout plan helped her lose 30kg of post-pregnancy weight, chartered accountant Roshini Gilbert was inspired enough to go from tallying numbers to training others. A freelance personal trainer today, Roshini has been certified by the American Council on Exercises (ACE) for functional fitness and specialises in post-natal weight loss, exercises for low back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis. She also has REHAB Trainer certification from Australia for rehabilitative exercises and has trained with reputed sports physiotherapist Ulrik Larsen in corrective exercises and injury management. In HealthifyMe, Roshini has found a collaborator with a common cause – making people fit to live life to the fullest. Her assessment of how fit you are is based on three broad guidelines — stamina, body age (a person who looks way older than his age can’t be deemed healthy) and lifestyle (beware, those with bad eating habits and sedentary behaviour). Prepare yourself mentally first and then your body will follow, she says, of the opinion that if you want to change something about yourself then you need to challenge yourself to do it. Are you up for it?

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