To help all the new moms get back in shape, we talked to Zumba India Ambassador and women wellness coach Sucheta Pal, who is also a new mother herself. Sucheta shared some easy tricks and tips to kickstart the fitness journey and get your before pregnancy body back.
Check for diastasis Recti
The first step is to check for the diastasis recti separation or abs separation. Sucheta explained that during pregnancy a woman’s abs separate from the middle because the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate for the growing baby. This is quite a common phenomenon during and after pregnancy. In some cases, following the birth of the baby, the abs automatically get healed, while others have to make an effort to bring the abs muscle together, heal and strengthen them.
How to check for abs separation
Step 1: Lie on your back comfortably with your knees bent and breathe in and out to relax. Step 2: Lift your shoulders off the floor and look straight up towards the ceiling.
Step 3: Bring your two fingers of your right hand over your belly button and feel the sides of the abs. If the abs are separated, you will be able to feel the ridges.
Step 4: Take your finger first 2 inches below the belly button and then 2 inches above the belly button and repeat the same
If you have more than 2 finger gaps then means you have ab separation and you need to start your fitness journey first by healing this.
The breathing exercise
The first exercise to heal your separated ab muscle is by performing breathing exercises. Sucheta suggests performing this exercise multiple times a day. “You can start with 2-3 minutes and then increase the timing. One can start doing this exercise even 5 days after the delivery,” she said.
She explains that in this breathing exercise one has to expand the rib cage rather than just breathing and lifting the chest. You have to breathe in, expand the rib cage, fill the lungs with the air in such a way that the diaphragm pushes down and the air is passed on to the belly. Once your belly is filled with air, lift the pelvic floor towards the belly button, squeeze the abdominal muscles together and push out all the air upwards to the lungs and breathe out.
The most important thing is to engage your core, says Sucheta. No matter what you are doing, exercising or lifting the baby always try to engage your core muscles.
Posture correction is another aspect of getting fit after childbirth. Whenever you are performing any work make sure your core is engaged and your posture is correct, recommends Sucheta. Your core muscle actually comprises the entire abdominal area, including your pelvic floor, pelvic muscles, abs, obliques and your entire back.
How to engage the core
Most people have the habit of pushing their belly outwards, which makes their spine curve. This is not the correct posture. Think about coughing, pushing your chest down pushing your belly button outwards towards the spine. This is your natural posture and you must try to maintain this. Every time you are doing any work reset your core like this. Make this your second nature and your body will start healing.
Other core exercises
Before jumping into any workout routine practise some core targeting exercises. As per Sucheta, after pregnancy, every woman must perform core targeting exercise for at least 2 to 6 months daily before starting the actual workout. These core muscle targeting exercise include glute bridge and cat and cow pose.