Having a baby is quite a workout! Afterward, your muscles are sore, your pelvic floor is all out of sorts, and it really takes some work to get back to your pre-baby state. The following exercises will help strengthen and tone you without putting too much strain on the muscles and tissues that are still healing.
Walking is a better exercise than most people give it credit for. Not only do you burn calories, but your core has to work to keep your body tall and upright, which can help you rebuild abdominal and back strength. Plus, you can easily walk with a baby. Start by just taking a walk around the block every day, then slowly increase the length of your walks until you're walking 2 - 3 miles per day. Make sure you wear comfortable, supportive shoes so you don't develop foot or back pain.
This one is great for toning your back, which will be important for supporting your abdominal muscles as you start working them more. Lay on your back with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your arms should be laid gently at your sides. Then, raise your head, and your shoulders too if you can manage, just an inch or two off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then lower your head back to the floor.
Pelvic Air Tilts
Here's one to really get your belly back in shape. Start on the floor, supported on all fours — as if you were about to crawl like a baby. Then, fold your arms, bringing your backside up into the air. Once your backside is raised as high as it will comfortably go, work on tilting forward at the pelvis. You should feel the tension through your belly as you do so. Hold the position for three to five seconds — whatever you can manage.
Weighted squats can be a bit much when you're recovering from giving birth, but unweighted, gentle squats are really helpful in building your core and upper legs. Just stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms in front of you — or fold them across your chest — and squat down until your knees form a right angle. Do about 20 of these, and perform sets a few times throughout a day.
For more exercises that will help you gain strength during this postpartum period, reach out to a postpartum physiotherapy clinic in your area.