BUT WHERE DO YOU GET THE TIME TO EXERCISE WITH A LITTLE ONE?! This is one of the most comment questions I get asked from new mums. A lot of mums don’t realise just how time-consuming newborns and mumhood can be; everyone tells you they sleep a lot which is true, but they also feed a ridiculous amount of the time too. And god forbid they fall asleep on you! You’re stuck! On the sofa, for potentially HOURS.
And then if it’s not getting the washing on (babies are puky, messy little things) it’s finding time to shower, make yourself food and still keep up with all the life admin which comes rolling in. So exercise? Pffft. That often falls to the bottom of the priority list. Who has time to find a babysitter, dig out the leggings and wrestle the giant boobs into a sports bra? Not me, I hear you cry. Well actually, there’s another way – exercise WITH your baby.
It’s convenient and super-easy. With this 5 minute post-natal workout to strengthen your glutes, you can have your baby on you, either holding him if you feel safe doing so, or slung up in a baby carrier or wrap. I’ve found the best slings for exercise in are the cloth wrap ones as they give you more range of movement for things like squats and hug your little one in closer to you.
Working on your glutes is important as a lot of women get ‘mum bum’, where their bottoms just disappear. Whaaat..?! You heard me, your bottom can disappear. This is because as our body changes during pregnancy and the weight of the baby pulls us forward, our body tries to compensate, most often by tucking in the tailbone and using the posterior pelvic floor instead. Our glutes are used less and therefore lose muscle tone. A personal trainer can help you counteract this. Post-pregnancy, it’s always worth getting a post-natal assessment done to see whether your body continues to favour other muscles rather than your glutes, and to check posture and other parts of your bo
This post-natal workout can be done from 6 weeks after having your baby, provided that a) you’ve had your GP sign-off for exercise and b) your body feels up for it. Any strange pain or weakness then stop immediately. For those who have had a Caesarean, I’d advise waiting until at least 10 weeks to let the scarring heal as much as possible (although C-section scars can roughly take 1-2 years to properly ‘heal’). The last thing you want to do is weaken your body when you need it to be at its strongest.
You can also do this during pregnancy but just make sure you take it easy!
Before you start checklist:
- Make sure you’ve got water
- There’s nothing nearby you can trip over
- You’re wearing comfortable clothes
- Your baby is securely held or contained by the wrap
Do each exercise for 5 minutes, repeat if you have the energy or the time!
It’s really important to keep breathing as you go (sounds silly but if you hold your breath you could increase pelvic floor weakness or stomach muscle separation) and to squeeze your core tight especially on the downwards squat movement, breathing out as you bend your knees. Every time you go into your squat, breathe out, zip up your core and squeexe your pelvic floor for a maximum workout.
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Start with your feet just slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your chest upright and without curving your back, tighten your core and bend your knees. At your lowest point, stay where you are and add in a few pulses. Straighten back up, breathing in, before you repeat.
The king of all glute exercises! As before, start with your feet just slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keeping your chest upright and without curving your back, tighten your core and bend your knees. As you come up, drive through the thighs and squeeze your glutes. The humble squat is pretty much THE best exercise for glute strength which is why there are so many in post-natal classes.
Squat side leg lifts
Start with a little squat before pushing off with one leg, lifting it up a few inches off the ground. You don’t have to lift it too high for this to be effective. And if you’re still breast-feeding, definitely don’t lift it off the ground too much as you’ll still have lots of relaxin in your body and hips can be unstable still.
Take a large enough step forward with your right leg so that when you bend both knees, you’re roughly making a 90’ angle and your front knee isn’t going past your front foot. Keep your chest upright as you bend your knees, your back foot on the ball of the foot, pulling your core in tight. Straighten your legs to return to your original position. Swap sides after a minute.