Exercise after pregnancy

Exercise After Pregnancy

Hello, dears!

Along with tons of joy, pregnancy comes with lots of questions. After pregnancy,  how to get back in shape and all kind of questions related are very common. I´ve seen many women go to the gym for the first time after pregnancy. Although exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do as a new mom, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it does have benefits:

  • It helps strengthen and tone abdominal muscles.
  • It boosts energy.
  • It may be useful in preventing postpartum depression, by increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals (endorphins) in your brain.
  • It promotes better sleep.
  • It relieves stress.

The most important exercises in the first few days after birth are your pelvic floor exercises. Start doing them as soon as you can.

The pelvic floor is a broad sling of muscles, ligaments and sheet-like tissues that stretch from your pubic bone at the front of your body, to the base of your spine at the back. Your pelvic floor supports your bladder, bowel, and uterus, and gives you control over when you empty your bladder or bowel.

Having a weak pelvic floor makes it harder for you to squeeze the muscles and sphincters at the bottom of your bladder. You may find that you accidentally leak a little wee when you cough, sneeze or exercise. It affects up to a third of all new moms.

Your pelvic floor affects your vaginal muscles, too. You may find sex less satisfying if you have a weak pelvic floor.

Doing just a few pelvic floor exercises every day will help to treat symptoms, and will help to prevent problems later on so, include pelvic tilts, belly breathing, and abdominal bracing in your daily routine as soon as you comfortably can.

More details on pelvic floor exercises at Pelvic Floor First, an amazing Aussie website!

It is recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (this means: you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating) aerobic activity every week. But this is imprecise because it´s also recommended a warm-up and a cool down (10 minutes each). At the end, doing it properly means 40-45 minutes a day. Good news is walking count as exercise! Walking is a great way to get back in shape. Walking outside has an added bonus because you can push your baby in a stroller.

Last, but not least, muscle-strengthening activities like yoga, Pilates, and lifting weights should be done in addition to your aerobic activity on at least 2 days a week. All these disciplines have not only a few exercises or routines but specialties adapted to your needs.

Start by strengthening your core with this easy exercises, when you feel ready:

Belly breathing: Belly breathing simply involves allowing your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while you actively inhale and exhale as deeply as possible.

Abdominal Bracing: Begin by lying face-up on the floor. Brace your abdomen by contracting your entire abdomen as if you were preparing to get hit in the stomach. From here, perform different movements with your arms and legs (such as raising one or both arms overhead or extending your legs while keeping your back flat against the floor).

Pelvic Tilt: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or propped on a ball. Brace your abdomen and tilt your pelvis back by pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold this position for five seconds then repeat.

Happy training, Moms!

   

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Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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