5 Easy Postpartum Workouts to Get You Back in Shape
Does the thought of exercising freak you out? Running isn't your thing, you've smacked your face far too many times with the Pilates band, and the gym is out of the question. At the same time, you want to lose the excess baby weight. You're sick of wearing elasticized pants, and you're tired of being asked about your due date when you're clearly holding an infant! How do you get fit without taking the route of traditional, strenuous exercise?
These five postpartum workouts demand minimal effort yet yield maximum results. They're super fun, require little-to-no gear, and are wonderfully effective. The reason they work so well is that they're ridiculously simple, making it easy to stick with a routine. Try one (or all of them!) out for yourself:
I know what you're thinking: how can something so basic as walking count as a workout? For starters, it improves circulation, wards off heart disease, prevents osteoporosis (very common in women who have been pregnant), supports your joints, and strengthens your muscles.
Besides, it's not about what you do, it's how you do it. To really utilize walking as an exercise, you need to be on your feet at least 30 minutes a day. Easier said than done if you're car dependent, work an office job, or simply find your schedule packed.
As much as possible, ditch your car and walk wherever you need to go. You spent big bucks on that full-sized stroller, so make the most out of it! Walk to the market and haul groceries in the stroller basket. Walk your older kids to school. For goodness' sake, walk to the corner pizzeria rather than ordering for delivery! At times when you simply can't leave the car at home, sneak in those steps by choosing the farthest parking space, and using the stairs over elevators.
Get your whole family involved by going on leisurely post-dinner walks. Studies show that walking for 15 minutes after meals aids digestion, significantly lowers blood sugar levels, boosts metabolism, and even leads to a good night's sleep by reducing stress. During the day, feel free to pick up the pace. Ever made fun of speed walkers? Joke's on you: it turns out that walking faster burns more belly fat!
If you're lucky enough to have access to a pool, swimming may just be the best exercise yet. Swimming offers a low-impact, full-body workout. Thanks to water’s buoyancy, you'll be able to perform exercises that are otherwise difficult to do on land, without added pressure on your joints. You'll love the perks of continual resistance and water's cooling effects — say goodbye to overheating while working out!
Swimming is a great way to improve flexibility and strength, build endurance, rehabilitate the muscles, and release stress and tension. It's also a ton of FUN! We can't think of a better way to play . . . err, exercise . . . on those scorching summer days.
If you're going to bother working out, would you rather do it:
- On a MACHINE in a packed room filled with sweaty bodies, deafening hip hop from ‘03, and zero air circulation?
- Somewhere picturesque, surrounded by nature and fresh air, possibly accompanied by chirping baby birds?
If you chose B, then you'll love a good, old-fashioned hike. Not only is it wonderfully uplifting to exercise in nature, it's also offers serious results. Hiking is great for both cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness, and is an excellent way to burn lots of calories and lose weight. The best part is that it works every part of the body: neck, shoulders, arms, abs, hips, butt, legs . . . perfect for that lean, sculpted look!
Check out what your city has to offer on AllTrails.com — we recommend starting with relatively flat "nature walks" then progressing to trails with steeper inclines. Invest in an all-terrain stroller, or better yet, strap your baby in a carrier for the added benefit of weight training.
A workout that doesn't feel like you're working out? Unlike most exercises, yoga isn't about ball-busting, heart-pounding moves. Quite the opposite, in fact: yoga promotes strength and awareness of the mind and body through breathing exercises, meditation, and poses that stretch and flex the muscles.
Yoga's endless list of benefits include increased flexibility, muscle strength, and tone, improved respiration, cardio and circulatory health, lessened chronic pain, lowered blood pressure, and reduced insomnia. It's a great way to manage stress, which we all know wreaks havoc on the body. It also encourages mindfulness, which you can incorporate in every aspect of your life, particularly with eating habits.
The best part about yoga is that it's easy enough for beginners and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Invest in a yoga mat, tune in to your favorite YouTube channel (Tara Stiles has beautiful, easy-to-follow videos with the most soothing narration), and get posing!
Don't think dancing counts as proper exercise? Try saying that to a professional ballerina. Dancing is an enjoyable way to stay physically fit, with benefits such as increased muscle tone and strength, aerobic fitness, stronger bones, better coordination, agility and flexibility, and improved balance and spatial awareness. Dancing also builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and social skills, and improves your general well-being.
Try signing up for a group class. There are a ton of dance styles to choose from — ballet, ballroom, salsa and tap dancing are pretty popular, but why not go out of the box and try something like hip hop, belly dancing, or even pole dancing! Who knows, you might just discover a hidden talent!
Can't fathom getting your groove on in front of a bunch of strangers? Gather your kiddos and host your very own dance parties at home!
What are some of your favorite postpartum exercises? Share your fitness tips with us in the comments below!Tags : health fitness weight loss beauty