While you may feel ready to jump back into exercise soon after having a baby, it’s important that you allow your body time to heal in postpartum. This month, we sat down with Erica Ziel: A prenatal and postnatal expert and creator of Knocked Up Fitness®, to learn about keeping fit during pregnancy and safe postpartum exercises. Once your doctor has given you the OK to exercise, here are Erica’s postpartum guidelines to recover safely and get back into shape after baby:
Guidelines for Postpartum Exercises:
- Begin where you left off in your 3rd trimester of pregnancy (your pregnancy exercises are great in postpartum too!).
- Gradually increase your activity level each week.
- Listen to your body. If an exercise causes pain, incontinence or just doesn’t feel right, then stop. These are signs that your body isn’t quite ready for that exercise – not yet anyways.
Top 3 Postpartum Exercises:
Erica shares with us her best postpartum exercises below. These are all safe to do even if you have back pain, diastasis recti or pelvic floor dysfunction. The ultimate goal is to heal these areas, re-strengthen your core safely and effectively, and even prevent incontinence, pelvic organ prolapsing, and more. Eventually, you’ll be able to get back to all of your more intense workouts in no time. Let’s get moving momma!
- Lay flat on your back with a comfortable arch in your low back, knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
- Inhale, breathing deeply out to the sides and back of your ribcage. This allows your pelvis and pelvic floor to relax.
- Exhale, gently do a kegel (drawing your pelvic floor lightly together and upward). Zip your belly upward through the top of your head, allowing your pelvis to tilt slightly.
- Inhale, return to start allowing your back to arch and pelvis and pelvic floor to relax.
- Note: Pelvic Tilts are a prep for Hip Rolls – the next postpartum exercise.
- Starting with the Pelvic Tilts above, continue rolling your spine upward, one-vertebrae at a time. Do your best to articulate your spine as best you can.
- Pause and inhale at the top.
- Then exhale slowly, articulate your spine rolling back down on your mat.
- Inhale once your back is completely on your mat, and allow your back to arch.
- Exhale to initiate your next hip roll, and continue for 5 to 10 reps.
Squats with Rotation
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and slightly rotated out. Your knees should be aligned with your feet. Lower down into a squat, going only as low down as you can maintain good form and feel the underside of your legs doing a lot of the work.
- Stand up out of the squat, then rotate to your left, pivoting on your right toe. Allow the rotation to come from your hips. Keep your focus on your core, lightly hug your baby, while lengthening tall and squeezing your glutes. Continue to reach your arms up and around to your left.
- Return back to center and do another squat.
- Stand up and rotate to your right, pivoting on your left toe and reaching your arms to your right.
- Continue alternating for 10 to 20 reps.
Erica Ziel is a mother of three & the creator of the Core Rehab Program, Prenatal/Postnatal Exercise Specialist Instructor Course and the Knocked-Up Fitness Program. Erica created her programs for women to stay fit, healthy & feeling their best during all stages of pregnancy and beyond. She is also a sought-after expert for fitness-infused Pilates and personal training. Erica has been featured in and contributes to many media outlets such as: Fit Pregnancy Magazine, PT on the Net, LiveStrong.com, The New York Times, People.com, Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine and many others. !Exercise During Pregnancy