Post-pregnancy exercises: How to work out safely after having a baby

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  • Regular post-pregnancy exercise can improve posture and strength, as well as increasing your energy and overall wellness.

    And, pilates is perfect because it’s low impact and reduces anxiety, injury and further stress to the body, says Gaby Noble, Pilates expert and owner of Exhale Pilates London. ‘All Pilates exercises have elements of working on the breath which has a mental and emotional benefit too.’

    Try her top five post-pregnancy moves…

    Pelvic Lift

    Great to stretch the chest and hips which get tight from holding/feeding the baby.

    • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip-distance apart.
    • Inhale as you squeeze and lift your bum up towards the ceiling, making sure your abs are drawing in and up.
    • Hold the lift for a count of three and exhale pressing the arms into the floor imprinting the spine all the way down.
    • Repeat five times.

    READ MORE: How to exercise your pelvic floor

    Pelvic floor

    Alamy Stock Photo

    Half Rollback

    It helps release tightness in the lower back whilst re-awakening your deep core muscles and increasing pelvic stability.

    • Start by sitting tall, knees bent, feet flat, hip-distance and parallel.
    • Bring your hands behind the knees or thighs and sit up tall gazing forward.
    • Take a deep inhale to prepare and lift taller, exhale start rounding through the spine to creat a c-curve, tucking the tailbone under.
    • Inhale lengthen the back, exhale sit up tall and to the start position.
    • Repeat five times.

    Single-Leg Circle

    Challenges core strength and pelvic stability. It also strengthens the quads and hamstrings that support your posture.

    • Raise your right leg straight up, holding onto your calf or thigh and reach your heel to the ceiling.
    • Lengthen the left leg away from you (if leg is too tight keep knee bent).
    • Hold this position for ten breaths to stretch out the calf and hamstring.
    • Release your hands, and place your arms and hands long by your sides pressing the triceps into the floor.
    • Make five small circles in each direction with your extended leg to oil the hip joint.
    • Repeat on the other side.

    Breathing check – Inhale as you take the leg around, exhale to bring it back.

    Conscious breathing

    • Lie on your back legs stretched long and hands cupping just below your ribs.
    • Consciously scan your body to feel its condition.
    • Inhale deeply as you feel the ribs expand sideways, counting slowly for five seconds until your lungs are full.
    • Exhale evenly, closing the ribs and pulling the abdomen in and up squeezing all the air out.
    • Repeat this five more times, slowly

    READ MORE: How to practice ‘gratitude meditation’ – and four other tips to combat stress and burnout

    Swimming

    Improves flexibility and strengthens your backline including your spine and glutes. Start slowly with this exercise to build strength and control before you improve the flow and how quickly you alternate.

    • Start flat on your stomach with legs and arms extended.
    • Simultaneously lift both your left leg and right arm, hold for three seconds and switch sides.
    • The pose should form a straight line from the tip of your fingers all the way back to the toes stretching away from your center in both directions.
    • Lift your head slightly and simultaneously move your arms up and down like you’re swimming in the water.
    • Keep your abdominals drawn in to protect your spine and think length as opposed to up.