In the last article about how to lose weight after pregnancy, we discussed general things like diet, pre-pregnancy weight gain, breastfeeding and basic exercises at home. In continuation with the idea, here are some more tips that focus on cardio and Strength training, yoga, home workouts, ab exercises, and healthy snacking options to speed up your post-partum recovery and get back in shape. Read on, and you'll be on your way to looking great and feeling good, even with a baby in your arms![Image credit: Babyzone]
Get Your Cardio Workout Right at Home
You don't need to hit the gym to get your Cardio done; climbing the stairs at home, using the steps as a stepper workout, skipping, running in place are all simple workouts that you can substitute to burn calories and get a healthy cardio routine accomplished right at home. You can even jog in place and slowly increase your pace with each passing day. After 6-8 weeks of delivery, once you feel healthy enough, carry your baby and go up-and-down the steps for 3-4 times, repeating this for 3 times a day at regular intervals. This is an excellent way to increase heart-rate, all the while cuddling with your baby!
Exercise your Abs as often as you can
New moms are afraid that they would not be able to lose their belly fat after pregnancy. Though it seems tough, and will surely take some serious effort, be patient, and you will definitely be able to lose most of your belly fat. The most important aspect is to do core training and concentrate on your abs. Try to do at least 3 sets of crunches or ab-situps, making at least 20 in each set. Some basic yoga exercises that exercise your core are also beneficial, and will help get your tummy back into shape.
Don't forget the Strength Training
Lifting Weights is as important as any Cardio exercise, and effective strength-training is the key to lose fat and build muscle. If your workout only includes cardio and no weights, you will end up with a low figure on the weighing scale, but it would be muscle loss instead of fat loss. So try to lift 3-5 pound dumb-bells and do some basic exercises for biceps, triceps, thighs and quadriceps. While you are recovering, DO NOT lift anything heavier than your baby; start with low weights till you get back to normal health, then you can slowly increase the weights, duration, and repetitions of your sessions. For details about what exercises to choose, please refer to my article about strength training for weight-loss
Choose Healthy Snacks for Munch-time
Its important to get proper nutrition and eat sufficient calories while you are recovering postpartum, especially if you are breastfeeding. So when you feel the urge to snack or munch on something, choose healthy alternatives like nuts, cheese cubes, broccoli, carrot sticks, boiled eggs, turkey slices, soup servings, iron-fortified cereals and fresh fruits like bananas or blueberries.
Try Swimming for a Full-Body Workout
Just as Swimming was good for you while you were pregnant, it continues to be the best non-stress exercise for a complete body workout even after giving birth. If you can find some time to leave your baby with someone else, opt for at least 30 minutes of swimming 3-4 times a week. This will not only help increase your metabolism, it provides a relaxing way to work on your abs, arms, legs and toning your overall body, all in one go.
Yoga Can Work Wonders Too
Everyone these days knows about the benefits of yoga, and there would be no second thoughts about how it can help you get back into shape post-partum, just by focusing your energy on toning your entire body and mind. it is easy, can be done right at home, and will not only help you lose fat, but can relive stress too. You can find some great Yoga poses for postpartum weight-loss at Babyzone; if you can afford to join a yoga class at gym, that would be great too as having company is much more motivating than doing it alone.
This is perhaps the most important advice for all new moms. It took nine months to accumulate all that weight, and I'm sure everyone gives in to indulgences while pregnant, resulting into more fat deposits than you'd have imagined. So be patient, be committed, and give yourself and your body some time to recover and then at least a year to get back to your original shape. You will lose almost 10 pounds within the first couple weeks of delivery, and a few more as you spend sleepless nights taking care of your newborn. but it is usually the last 5-10 pounds which need dedication to fitness. believe in yourself, follow the tips discussed here, and you'll be a fit-and-fine mommy in no time!
So, to all new mommies out there, hang in there, enjoy your precious moments with your baby, dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to any form of exercise, and you'll be surprised how much easier and fun it can be to be a parent with a healthy mind and a healthy body!
If you've missed part 1 on this series, follow the link for tips on how to lose weight after pregnancy.