Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Postpartum Exercise Part 1

Baby is here. You are happy. Now you just want to be able to fit into your jeans! Try out these exercises to help you get rid of postpartum flab; just make sure your doctor has cleared you for exercising. These exercises are quick and easy, and you should be able to fit them into your routine without much effort. There will be no going to the gym or the track. You can do these exercises from the comfort of your home.

First, you can work on toning up your legs. While they probably are not your biggest concern - think of all that exercise making midnight trips to the bathroom - you can begin to shape them. The first exercise is the leg extenders. Lie flat on your back with your legs flat in front of you. Slowly bend your knees until you have them pulled to your chest. Do not worry at this point about how close to your chest your legs are. Then push them back until your knees are even with your hips. Raise your legs until they are vertical. Leave for three seconds and return your legs to the ground. When you starting out, try to do two sets of 10 leg extenders each day.

The second leg exercise is the leg curl. This exercise does double duty as it will tone up the thighs and the buttocks. Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Do not hold yourself up with your hands; put them on the wall for balance only. Pull one leg toward your bottom. Hold the leg with your hand for three seconds and release. Repeat with the other leg. Try to complete two sets of 10 leg curls daily when you are starting out.

The next exercise, the leg lift, is something that will help you begin to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Lie on your side with your legs flat on the floor. Slowly lift the top leg until it is 10 to 12 inches from the leg on the ground. Hold it for 5 to 10 second and return it to the floor. Do 2 sets of 10, then roll over and work out the other leg.

The next exercise is one you can complete while you are holding baby. When you are standing, lift only your toes and the balls of your feet off the ground. Return them to the ground immediately. You should be able to complete 50 toe lifts per foot without taking time out of your otherwise busy day.

Another quick, do-while-standing exercise is the calf stretch. Stand with your legs together. Lift yourself onto your toes, hold for two seconds, and return your heels to the ground. When you are first starting out, you should aim for completing 2 sets of 20 calf stretches per day.

The final exercise to help with post-baby fat on your legs is the lunge. Stand with your feet together. Step back with your right leg about 3 feet. Bend your knees so that your right knee comes as close to touching the ground as you can get it. Repeat with the left leg. Do 2 sets of 10.

These exercises should get you started and help you to return to your pre-baby form!

By Julia Mercer

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