Even a small amount of effort after a C-section leads to a lifetime of benefits. Having a cesarean surgery is still considered one of the major surgeries. Your body needs time to heal on its own.
But there are some things you can do to recover from a C-section. These exercises are safe, effective, and doctor-recommended. It can help you cope with emotional and physical effects after a c-section. Read more to find out what you can do to get healthy and moving. So what are the 5 ways to exercise after a c-section? And are they safe for new moms?
5 Ways to Exercise after a C-Section
1. Do Abdominal Exercises
This is the most effective way to target your core muscles. That is to increase strength, improve mobility, and reduce tummy. Start with gentle abdominal exercises. It’s important to never push yourself to the extreme when exercising post-c-section.
Abdominal exercises such as Bridges can tone your abdominal muscles. It’s a good hip and core strengthening exercise that’s also low impact.
Another impressive abdominal exercise targets your transverse abdominis. This is how to do it correctly.
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Make sure you wear socks or place your feet on a lightweight towel. This should help you slide your feet on the floor.
- Exhale and gently squeeze your abdominal muscles. You can do this by pulling your belly button into your spine. Make sure you do not curve your lower back. While doing this, gently slide your right foot away from your body. This should extend your foot.
- Inhale and bring your feet back to the starting position. And gently release your abdominal muscles. Perform this exercise 10 to 12 times on body sides.
2. Do Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are also effective to tone your abdominal muscles. Along with the hip muscles! Plus, when done correctly, they can slowly improve your skin’s elasticity. Encouraging all abdominal and core muscles to work in coordination!
So here’s how to perform Kegel exercises the right way:
- The pelvic muscles are nothing like your biceps. What I mean to say is that they’re a bit tricky to locate. Try restraining yourself the next time you want to pee. The squeeze that you feel in your abdominal region is your pelvic muscle.
So the first step is to find be aware of these muscles.
- The next is to make sure that you’re really squeezing them. The best way to test if you’re performing the Kegel movement properly is this. Place one finger in your vagina at the time of squeezing your muscles. Can you feel the muscles around the finger lifting and contracting? If yes, then you’re on the right track.
- Once you know you’re squeezing correctly, it’s time to up the game. Hold that squeeze for 10 seconds and then release for 3 seconds. Think of it as preventing a marble held in there from falling out and down. You have to pull in and not push out.
- Practice Kegel exercises on a daily basis. You can start with 10 reps a day. And then gradually increase to 3 sets of 10 reps each. Space them out throughout the day to make the most of the workout. If you follow this for 6 months consistently, there’s no chance you won’t see an actual difference.
And the best part about Kegel is that you can do it anywhere. The movement helps in toning your thigh and buttock muscles as well. So it’s a super discreet exercise.
Kegel exercises are also great for strengthening your pelvic muscles. This reduces chances of stress incontinence in women post childbirth. While c-section is a major surgery, it can cause urinary issues after. These exercises will activate all the right muscles to boost recovery after c-section.
Now it’s time for me to discuss three different Kegel exercise variations for you:
- Quick Hit
This form is exactly the way it sounds. Perform the classic Kegel movement as fast as possible. It involves quick muscle contractions. And try your best to not relax between the reps.
- Double Punch
For this variation, you should hold the squeeze for two seconds. Before relaxing fully that is.
You can combine the movement with deep breathing. It helps with flexibility. After all, you want your muscles to become both stronger and flexible, don’t you?
Here’s an isolated Kegel posture. When you get into the bridge position, you’re strengthening more than just the pelvic muscles. You’re also encouraging your glutes to become stronger. This is the best way to target the pelvic and other muscle groups. With only a single exercise that too!
3. Practice Yoga for Recovery
Doing yoga movements after c-section can have many benefits. It improves muscle recovery, releases stress, and boosts mental health. So put on your most comfortable postpartum underwear and find yourself on a yoga mat!
Are you worried about injuring your sutures? Or putting too much pressure on your abdominal muscles? Then you should know that yoga can allow you space to heal and grow after a c-section.
Try doing forward bending postures such as the child posture or downward facing dog. Forward bending poses in yoga can improve your lower back. It improves posture and reduces lumbar pain.
Here’s an effective yoga pose to practice after a c-section.
- Sit with your feet under your buttocks and knees bent and close together. Raise your arms over your head and take a deep breath in. Gentle bend forward at the waist until your forehead touches the ground.
- Make sure your back is flat and not arched. And your abdominal muscles should touch your upper thighs. Take a deep breath in this position. And gently come up with arms raised to the seated starting position.
- Perform this posture, also known as the Child’s Posture, 5 to 8 times.
You can also do the Cobra pose and Mountain pose to boost muscle recovery after c-section.
4. Swim a Few Times per Week
Swimming can be a major challenge for many women post childbirth. So you have to allow your sutures to heal completely before you take up this exercise. The best time to swim after a c-section is after 6 weeks following surgery.
Contrary to popular belief, swimming puts less pressure on your muscles. You can swim at a slow speed and improve stamina and release stress. As long as you’re moving your body, it encourages better recovery.
Swimming, while being an effective aerobic workout, is a good stamina-booster. You can get back to your daily routine with the help of swimming. Plus, it can boost blood circulation, promote digestion, and reduce baby stress.
And did you know that you can exercise in water too? I mean you can actually work those abdominal muscles in there as well? Here’s how:
- Leg Lifts
Water is your resistance in this case. Find a spot where the water reaches your chest height. Your front should be facing the pool. With your forearms and elbows on the pool deck!
Keep the legs straight and together. Lift them up slowly; they should be parallel to the floor. Hold the lift for at least 10 seconds. Then go back to start, and repeat the exercise 10-15 times.
- Dolphin Kick
The most effective workout for your abs while swimming is the dolphin kick. In fact, it even helps in toning your leg muscles and glutes.
Face the edge part of the swimming pool. Hold on using both your hands. Your body should be up at this point. That means float face down. Keep the legs together and kick them in an upward and downward motion fluidly. Like a dolphin!
Do this for a minute, and then rest and repeat.
5. Do Bodyweight Strength Training Exercises
Doing strength training requires more energy and dedication. But doing it a couple of times a week can have amazing benefits. If you want to lose weight, strength training is ideal. It targets all major muscles of your body. And boosts your metabolism for weight loss. Along with promoting fat burning in a short amount of time!
After each strength training session, your muscles still put in the work for recovery. This leads to even more weight loss. Once you’ve surpassed the 6-week cap after c-section. Getting back on track with certain bodyweight strength training exercises is a must!
You can do 12 reps each of squats, chest presses, and lunges to increase your heart rate. They are low-impact at first. Then you can increase intensity as you get stronger. Trust me; the training doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger!
As with any physical exercise, you won’t know until you try it! And these 5 ways to exercise after c-section are a must-try for most women. These exercises work all muscles to boost recovery and toning.
After your cesarean delivery, you need these 5 ways to exercise after a c-section. They activate important muscles, improve mobility, and reduce the risk of injury.