Now that the baby has been born, it is time to shed off those extra pounds you picked up during your pregnancy and get back in shape. Personal fitness is particularly important after pregnancy since it has been shown to help prevent postnatal depression.
Ready to burn some fat and tone those muscles? Here are 6 of the fastest ways to get back in shape postpartum:
1) Sign up for martial arts classes
Sara McMann is a professional MMA fighter, an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, and a mother. (image via Jeff Binns Photography)
Martial arts classes will get you back in shape faster than almost any other thing you can think of. It is a fun, physical activity that constantly changes during each class. Serious martial artists are typically very fit people for a reason. These ancient arts work every muscle in the body and it provides both an aerobic and anaerobic workout during a single session.
It is also one of the most effective ways to burn fat. An hour-long Muay Thai class can burn up to 1,000 calories!
Reputable martial arts gyms provide a family-friendly atmosphere and there are classes that are geared specifically for beginners or people who are trying to get back in shape. You get to meet lots of like-minded people who are working towards similar fitness goals and you might even develop some lifelong friendships.
Martial arts classes won’t just get you back in physical shape, it will also improve your mental state. You become more confident, better at managing stress and more disciplined. The icing on the cake is the fact you also learn how to effectively defend yourself and your newborn like any mama bear would if it was ever necessary.
Swimming is another great way to burn those excess pounds of fat off. It involves the use of virtually every muscle in the body and it provides a great aerobic workout. Swimming is a no impact exercise so it does not strain your joints like other cardiovascular activities like running or jogging can. That is a huge benefit for people who have had joint issues in the past.
When trying to burn fat by adding swimming to your fitness routine, it is very important that you make the most out of the time you spend in the pool. It is important that you swim towards clearly defined goals when using it as a fitness activity. You burn a lot more calories when you continuously do laps than you do when leisurely enjoying the water with friends. If you push yourself during swimming sessions, you can burn up to 500 calories each hour.
Other things you can do to make your swimming sessions more effective include:
- Perform some strength exercises before going for a swim. It makes your body burn fat faster
- Swim before eating in the morning. Your insulin levels rise after a meal and that reduces the rate at which fat is converted into energy during physical activity
- Gradually increase the length of time you spend swimming
- Alternate between fast and slower intervals
3) Join a gym
Build your strength and tone those muscles in Evolve MMA’s Warrior Fit classes.
Working out at a gym is always a good way to get back into shape if you are disciplined enough to stick to your routine. Focus on exercises like pelvic tilts and kegels. These can be performed as soon as a couple of days after your delivery if your doctor clears you.
Performing these exercises increases blood flow to the perineum and it helps with your recovery. It also creates a solid foundation that takes you a step closer to regaining your abs.
Crunches are another exercise you should add to your fitness routine. Check to see if you have abdominal separation by trying to insert a few fingers between your abs. If your abs are separated, the fingers will fit in.
You can train your abs to draw them back together by holding them together as you perform crunches. This is often enough to get them back to their proper alignment. If the issue persists, consult a doctor.
You should also consider pumping some iron. Strength training is a time-efficient way to pick up your metabolism and increase the rate your body burns fat. Exercises that target compound muscles like your quads and shoulders should be part of your fitness routine.
To get the most out of your cardio sessions, trying doing them right after your strength training session. You will burn more calories that way.
4) Breastfeed your baby
That’s right, breastfeeding helps you to get back in shape after having a child. It helps to shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size and it burns about 600 calories per day. There is no easier way to burn that many calories per day, so take advantage of what Mother Nature provides.
5) Go for walks
If you do not yet feel like you are ready for a fitness routine, you can gradually start your journey towards getting back in shape by going for walks. It gets your body moving and burns fat. Use your smartphone or a fitness device to track your steps each day. Gradually increase your daily walks by 10 percent each week as your body becomes stronger.
When you are ready for more of a test, move on to walking up a hill and other challenges.
6) Eat well
It is hard to get back in shape when your body is not getting all the nutrients it needs or you regularly have a caloric surplus. You need to take in fewer calories than you burn each day to consistently lose weight and burn fat off.
Try sticking to a diet with limited carbs and lots of proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
Anyone of the activities listed above will help you lose the weight you gained while you were pregnant. For best results, improve your diet and add any two of these activities to your daily routine.
This article was first published on Evolve MMA and was republished on theAsianparent with permission.