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TAKE BABY STEPS
You want to start rebuilding your abs and pelvic floor soon after delivery, so try to incorporate belly breathing and Kegels into your daily routine as soon as you feel ready – they're safe and effective. But make sure to listen to your body. After baby, it can be tempting to go overboard. Pain, bleeding or urine leakage are all signs that your body is not ready for that activity.
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To make your exercise session more comfortable, breastfeed or pump at least an hour before exercising. Also invest in a supportive sports bra. In the beginning, if one isn't enough, try two!
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FOCUS ON YOUR CORE
When you're cleared to begin exercising, don’t jump on the elliptical and expect to see results. Instead, choose exercises that strengthen your abdominals and midsection, including the plank. Not only is it easy on the body, but it's one of the most effective exercises for your core.
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STICK TO A SCHEDULE
Once you feel like you have your mommy routine down pat, look at your calendar and figure out the days and times when you're really free. You want to schedule your workouts as you would a work meeting or dinner with friends so that you will be able to commit long term.
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WORK OUT SMARTER
Now that you're a mom, time is valuable. So instead of spending hours at the gym, try a quick mix of intervals (short bursts of high intensity followed by lower intensity recovery). Not only do they work multiple muscle groups at once, but you'll be out of there in no time.
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FUEL UP WITH HEALTHY SNACKS
To give your body the energy it needs to perform at its best, munch on something healthy about 1 to 2 hours before exercising. Good options: nut butter on whole grain toast, fruit and string cheese, or ½ whole grain English muffin with hummus and a handful of berries.
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STAY ACTIVE DURING THE DAY
If you're going out for a walk, wear your baby instead of pushing him/her in the stroller. Do biceps curls with the laundry detergent after you put the clothes in the washer. While shopping for groceries, carry a basket instead of pushing a shopping cart.
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JENNIFER TUCKER JOHNSON
After dedicating herself to a more healthy lifestyle, the certified perinatal exercise specialist and founder of Fit for Expecting turned her attention to new moms. Her goal was to combat all the misinformation about post-pregnancy exercising, as well as create exercise plans that accommodate their busy lifestyles. Mission accomplished.