Becoming a parent can be one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. Unfortunately, the much anticipated addition to your happy family also comes with a few (less welcome) additional centimeters on your waistline. To keep up with the demands of being a new mom and get back your body, Viva Gym has created a list of top tips to regain your fitness after having a baby.
Tip 1: Kegel exercises. These exercises help strengthen a woman’s pelvic floor muscles, which can be weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, aging and weight gain. Pelvic muscles support the womb, bladder and bowels, so it is important to keep them engaged before, during and after your pregnancy. You can do this in a few ways, but here’s what Viva recommends: lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a soft ball between your knees and squeeze, ensuring you engage your pelvic muscles. Repeat several times – you will get stronger! When you do, try doing the exercise with your feet in the air and your legs at 90⁰ to the floor.
Tip 2: Start with walking. Pregnancy and childbirth (while beautiful) are both quite stressful on a woman’s body – so it’s recommended that you hold off on the ‘Bums and Tums’ classes until your doctor gives you the thumbs up. We recommend taking a stroll / brisk walk (depending on your fitness and comfort level) on the treadmill. This way, you’ll be able to accurately track your distance travelled, control the gradient, have a rough estimation of calories burned and monitor your progress.
Tip 3: Tricep dips. Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the floor behind you, with your fingers facing away from your body. Lift your bum off the floor slightly by straightening your arms. Engage your triceps by lowering your body – bending your elbows straight down by a few inches and then straightening them again. Repeat this movement 20 times then rest. When doing this exercise, it is also important to keep your abdominals engaged for added support.
Tip 4: Supermom. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms outstretched. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift both your arms and legs about 10cm off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat this 10 to 15 times depending on your fitness level. It’s important to remember that, as new moms, you may not feel you pelvic floor muscles working as well as they usually do – keep going! The feeling and your strength will return.
Remember, your body has taken strain, so you won’t be able to jump right into to your old routine. Be sure to stay hydrated and rest your body. If you’re uncertain, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise.
As the new kid on the block, Viva Gym is changing the fitness game by offering South Africans what they’ve always wanted: excellent service, at an affordable rate with no long-term compulsory commitment. They offer a no-contract membership which means the pressure to provide impeccable service and equipment is high. They also offer a contract buy-out if you wanted to leave that other Jim! They currently have 5 branches which include: Hillfox, Fourways, Rosebank, Walmer and Montana. A 6th one will open December 2015, in Oakdene.