Need to lose that baby bulge? Shed your new mummy tummy gradually and forever with a safe, effective fitness routine
So you've had the baby and you're starting to think about shedding the pregnancy pounds, toning up underused muscles and generally getting back into shape as a new mum.
Get back your pre-baby figure with these 10 tips from fitness expert Laura Williams of the Pampers Village Parenting Panel.
1. Take it easy: Your new mum body needs higher fat deposits to support breastfeeding, so trying to go against nature and shift that body fat too quick is like swimming upstream. Aim for regular, gentle exercise every day for up to 30 minutes and avoid overeating but apart from that, let nature take its course and wait until later to crank up the pace.
2. Keep away from the scales: Weigh yourself no more than once a week, if that, to keep the stress of slow weight loss to a minimum. A new mum who's back at her pre-pregnancy weight in the blink of an eye is probably stressing her body beyond what is safe and sustainable.
3. Aim for low impact exercise: In theory you can start doing what you like after your six-week check-up but in reality, with a pelvic floor that's supported an extra two stone of weight during the latter stages of your pregnancy plus the trauma of childbirth and with breasts that probably recoil from even a light touch, do you really want to be bounding up and down? If this is how you feel, restrict your aerobic exercise to gentler-paced activity like walking or cycling on a stationary bike.
4. Continue your pelvic floor exercises: Often overlooked in favour of higher octane exercise, pelvic floor work is essential to avoid stress incontinence. Pull up on your pelvic floor muscles (as if you were stopping wee-ing mid-flow) for a count of 10. Repeat throughout the day.
5. Do what you can when you can: You don't need to commit to a drastic exercise in order to see results; including small amounts of exercise into your daily routine will burn more calories than you realise and boost energy levels too. Spread activity out over the course of the day: maybe an early morning brisk walk, a few squats or lunges to tone legs and bottom at lunchtime and some tricep dips to work on tops of arms before dinner.
6. Protect your joints: Your joints can still be vulnerable for up to five months after pregnancy due to the effects of relaxin, the pregnancy hormone that's responsible for making everything loose and stretchy, so you need to go easy and listen to your body. Don't persevere with any exercise or routine that causes discomfort in your back, knees, wrists, ankles. Seek advice from your doctor if in doubt.
7. Involve your baby: Joining a mum and baby exercise group can kill two birds with one stone - you get to work on your fitness, you both get an outing and it's a good chance to meet other new mums. Go easy on the post-exercise cakes and muffins, though.
8. Get a fitness DVD: Fitness DVDs are a great way of introducing some variety into your exercise routine and it means you can grab five minutes in the living room while baby sleeps.
9. Don't comfort eat: You will actually derive very little comfort from eating so-called comfort foods; sugary, fatty foods are high in calories and low on nutrition, making them bad for both your waistline and your moods. Remember too that excessive calorie restriction will leave both you and your new baby undernourished. Eat and snack healthily - think about what's going into your mouth. Fresh and nutritious is best.
10. Be glad you're not a celebrity: Rather than bemoan the fact that you don't have a fleet of trainers and chefs on call to help you lose your mummy tummy in an instant, be thankful that you don't have to snap back into shape double-quick. Time is on your side - be grateful.
Laura Williams is Fitness Expert for The Pampers Village Parenting Panel, a group of professionals selected from all areas of pregnancy and child development fields to help new and expecting parents. For more information on the Pampers Village Parenting Panel visit www.pampers.co.uk
Visit our sister site www.babyexpert.com for fertility, pregnancy, baby and new mum advice
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