According to doctors weak stomach muscles lead to poor posture which, in turn, is responsible for lower back pain, sciatica, joint pain and inflammation. So, flattening your abdomen be it before or after childbirth is not only essential for looking good but also for your overall health.
Generally, you should not begin serious abdominal work until your pelvic floor is strong again. At two months after childbirth, you can begin abdominal work, starting with floor exercises. if you’ve had a C-Section, stick to floor exercises for about eight months. Avoid exercises done while lying on your back with both legs in the air.
Test how ready are you for exercises?
Lie on your back with your head on the floor. Place your hands behind your neck and slowly lift your head toward the ceiling. Hold that position, now place a finger just above the belly button and press down gently. Generally you will feel a gap in between the muscles. See how many fingers (if any) you can get into the space. It will determine your abdominal muscle gap – if it is one finger then you may do all the exercises – if it is two or more you need to be really careful.
Exercises to reduce your tummy:
• Single-leg circle: Lie on the mat with your arms by your sides and your palms facing down. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, and rotate it slightly outward. Inhale, and trace a circle on the ceiling with your left leg. Moving your whole leg, but keeping your hips still. Trace the circle 5 times in a clockwise direction and then 5 times in anti-clockwise direction. Switch legs and repeat 5 times.
• Abdominal crunches: Place your hands behind your head or crossed in front of you whichever is more comfortable. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. When you raise up, be sure you are exhaling and when you lower your back, be sure to inhale. Pay attention to your breath as it will help you train muscles and makes the crunch much more effective. Perform 2-3 sets of 20-25 repetitions. You should really feel your abs working by the time you get close to 20.
• To strengthen the muscles which help you do sideways bending, the position should be lying on your back with one leg straight and the other knee bent. Your hand should be lying gently on your stomach just above the straight leg. Now, try lengthening the straight leg by stretching your heel taking care not to move your bent knee. Keeping your knee straight and shortening the leg, pull your heel slowly towards you and feel the muscle tighten under your hand. Relax and repeat with the other leg.
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