Your Pregnancy After 35 : Exercise during and after Pregnancy (part 7) - Your After-Pregnancy Workout

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Your After-Pregnancy Workout

After your baby is born, continue the exercises you did during pregnancy. Add some of the following exercises to help you focus on specific areas, especially abdominal muscles. Do these exercises when your healthcare provider gives you permission. Start slowly and gradually work harder. If you had a Cesarean delivery, ask your healthcare provider which exercises to avoid until you get his or her OK.

Back Bridge

Strengthens back, legs and buttocks
Lie flat on your back on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat. Inhale, then slowly lift buttocks and back in a straight line. Hold for 4 seconds. Exhale and lower your back to the floor so your upper back touches the floor, then your waist touches, then your pelvis touches last. Do 4 or 5 times.

The Crunch

Strengthens abdominal muscles
Lie flat on your back on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat. Put your hands on your abdomen. Suck in your abdomen, pulling your navel toward your spine. Hold 4 seconds and release. When you are able to do 8 repetitions, lift your head toward your chest. Hold for 4 seconds, then lower head and hold for 4 seconds. Work up to 10 repetitions.

Leg and Pelvic-Floor Strengthener

Strengthens legs and pelvic floor
Lie on your back with your arms out at your sides. Cross your right ankle over your left ankle; squeeze legs together. Hold 5 seconds and release. Repeat for other ankle. Do 5 times on each side.

Back Stretch

Strengthens buttocks, back muscles and leg muscles
Kneel on hands and knees, with wrists directly beneath shoulders and knees directly beneath hips. Keep your back straight. Contract abdominals, then extend your left leg behind you at hip height. At same time, extend your right arm at shoulder height. Hold 5 seconds and return to kneeling position. Repeat on other side. Start with 5 exercises on each side, and gradually work up to 8.

Chair Squat

Strengthens hips, thighs and buttock muscles
Lightly grasp the back of a chair or a counter for balance. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep body weight over heels and torso erect. Bend knees and lower torso in squatting position. Don’t round your back. Hold squatting position for 5 seconds, then straighten to starting position. Start with 5 repetitions and work up to 10.

Leg Raises

Good for abdominal muscles
Lie flat on your back with legs straight. Slowly lift both legs from the hip at the same time, using abdominal muscles. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower both legs together to the floor. Start with 2 repetitions and work up to 6.

Time-Saving, Energy-Saving Tip

One exercise you can do during pregnancy may also help during labor. Breath training decreases the amount of energy you need to breathe, and it improves the function of your respiratory muscles. These are the muscles you will use during labor and delivery. Practice these three exercises now for benefits in the near future.

Purse your lips. Breathe in through your nose, and exhale through pursed lips. Making a little whistling sound is OK. Breathe in for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 6 seconds.

Diaphragm breathing. Using your diaphragm muscle to breathe is beneficial. Lie on your back in a comfortable position. Place your hand on your abdomen while breathing. If you breathe using your diaphragm muscles, your hand will move up when you inhale and down when you exhale. If it doesn’t, try using different muscles until you can do it correctly.

Bend forward to breathe. If you bend slightly forward, you’ll find it’s easier to breathe. If you feel pressure as your baby gets bigger, try this technique. It may offer some relief

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