1. GO SLOW!
Your body just experienced a very intense mixture of physical, hormonal and mental stress. kick starting your body back into movement can be challenging, especially when you add on the stress of raising a child and sleep deprivation. When you start your physical come back depends a lot on how your baby was born. A cesarean section will have a much longer recovery time than a normal vaginal delivery. For a c-section, Most OB/Gyn physicians recommend atleast 6 weeks with no strenuous activity or heavy lifting. A normal birth can be significantly less, but it all depends on how your body is recovering from the birthing process. Every individual birth is unique to the individual, and every body heals differently. It's extremely important to discuss returning to excess with your physician and determine how many weeks is right for your body
2. CORE ACTIVATION
It's always a great idea to start from the inside out, but even more so when we are talking about postpartum exercise. Activating your core muscles is extremely crucial for setting the proper foundation, considering your abdominal muscles have been stretched for the past 9 months. But it's not all about crunches. Activating the deeper abdominal layers such as the Transversus Abdomens , as well as internal and external oblique muscles can provide stability to your spine and pelvis while you start to increase your exercise. Activating the proper core muscles will promote better posture and more efficient biomechanics, to get you back on your way without injury. Adding Pilates, Bar Method, or Dailey Method to your weekly routine are great options that focus on activating the core, and performing exercises with perfect technique.
3. KEGEL EXERCISES
Kegel exercises specifically train the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles make up the base of your pelvis and hold up the organs in your abdomen, including your bladder and uterus. You can imagine that after child birth, these muscles have undergone a significant amount of stress. Stress and strain to these muscles can lead to symptoms such as leakage of urine during normal movements or coughing. However, they are also very important for stabilizing your pelvis during activity. Many professional athletes actually perform Kegel exercises, because it increases core stability during training and performance. The easiest way to start activating your pelvic floor, is to pretend like you are holding your pee. YUP! Imagine that you really really need to go pee, but you try to hold it in. These muscles are your Kegels. Here's a quick exercise to get started. Activate your Kegels, aka "Hold your pee", for 10 seconds. Then, rest for a second. Then activate for another 10 seconds. Try to go for a total of 60 seconds. Pretty soon, you will be activating during all of your workout routines and daily activities.
4. TOTAL BODY EXERCISES
After you've had a baby, you essentially need to wake your body up from it's hibernation. It's been in "baby growing" mode. You gain weight, your ankles swell, and you have aches and pains all over. So now, it's time to get it moving again, and you need to move ALL of your joints! Do more exercises that involve multi-joint movements, because they promote more holistic, functional improvements in the body. By encouraging your body to move as one, you can work to improve strength and conditioning in a wide range of movements and activities. Try some exercises such as Bulgarian split squats, Dumbbell squats with an overhead press, or reverse lunge with knee drive.
5. HIP STABILITY
Whether you're a pro athlete or postpartum, strengthening your hips could be the single most important exercise you do. If you had to pick one of the 5, choose this one. Your hips are integral to all types of movement in your body. They not only help to stabilize the pelvis with the pelvic floor muscles, but also control the knee, ankle and foot. Your hips can help control all of the joints above and below it. One of the best ways to activate the hip muscles is by using mini bands in your workouts. if you do them properly, you will feel the burn! Trust me. There are so many creative ways to use mini bands. But remember, start simple, keep good form, and work your way up!
Now go get after it!