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Post-Natal Exercises You Can Do At Home

25/07/2013 09:33 | Updated 22 May 2015

These exercises have been dreamed up by personal trainer Lorna Balfour of www.passionateaboutfitness.com.

THE SQUAT:

Holding your baby over your shoulder with both hands, stand with your feet hip width apart and have your shoulders above your hips.

Point your toes out about 30 degrees.

Squat down keeping your heels on the ground and ensuring your butt moves backwards so your knees are not protruding past your toes.

You want to ensure your spine is aligned properly, to do this keep your chest up and your shoulders back. Make sure your knees track over your toes, and don't buckle in whilst squatting.

Make sure you breathe in when squatting down, and breathe out when squatting up. Squat down no further than past your knees.

Repeat 8-12 times depending on your energy levels.

Aim to do 3 sets of the exercise 8-12 times, resting for 1 minute in-between each set.

What it's working: The main muscles worked when squatting are the fronts of the legs (quads) and the butt (gluts). Secondary muscles used are the backs of the legs (hamstrings), and calf muscles. The exercise is challenging on your stability, so you also use your abdominal muscles and lower back to help stabilise your body.

GODDESS SQUAT:

The Goddess squat is a variation on the squat which uses your inner thighs. You just need to take a much wider stance than with the squat.

Again, aim to do 3 sets of the exercise 8-12 times, resting for 1 minute in-between each set.

What it's working: This is a great exercise which uses your inner thighs (adductors) as well as the other muscles used in the squat.

HEEL RAISE:

Remain in squat position and raise both your heels as if you we going up onto the balls of your feet.

Inhale as you rise up. Exhale as you lower your heels to the ground.

Again, aim to do 3 sets of the exercise 8-12 times, resting for 1 minute in-between each set.

What it's working: This exercise uses the calf muscles

BOTTOM CLENCHES:

Standing upright, simply clench the muscles in your bottom for 2 seconds and then relax the muscles for 2 seconds.

Again, aim to repeat this 8-12 times.

This can be done with baby on shoulder or you can combine this with arm raises.

What it's working: Your bottom muscles (gluts)

WARRIOR LUNGE:

Stand with feet leg length apart with your front foot facing forward and your back foot turned in 45 degree.

Make sure the hips are square and baby is safely tucked on your shoulder.

Hold the pose for around 25 breaths.

You can also raise the front heel here on every count to help build up the calf muscle and make the pose a little more challenging.

Switch legs and repeat this exercise.

What it's working: This pose mainly works the front of your legs (quads) backs of the legs (hamstrings) and your bottom (gluts).

ARM RAISES:

Hold your baby in front of you with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Extend your arms above your head; avoid locking out your elbows.

Lower your arms down so your baby is in line with your chest.

Again, aim to do 3 sets of the exercise 8-12 times, resting for 1 minute in-between each set.

What it's working: Muscles in your back (upper trapezius and latissimus dorsi), upper arms (biceps), forearms (brachioradialis) and shoulders (deltoids).

MEDITATIONS:

While feeding your baby you can either sit in a chair or find a comfortable seated position. Close the eyes, take your awareness to your lower abdomen.

Inhale for a count of 3, making sure the belly is rising on an inhalation and exhale for a count of 6 really drawing the belly button in towards the spine.

This helps tone the tummy as well as fine-tuning the mind. Breathe in 'I am calm', and breathe out 'I am centered'.

What it's working: By drawing the belly button into the spine, you are using the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominus), a muscle that has been completely stretched during pregnancy. Also calming for the nervous system and energises the mind.

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