The best way to “tone” up your stomach post-baby is to do some aerobic, fat-burning forms of exercise: walking, swimming, dancing, etc. The important thing is to just get moving! Then you can add some core strengthening and abdominal conditioning exercises.
Just remember there is no such thing as “spot toning.” As new moms, we need some form of aerobic exercise to help get rid of the extra “stuff” lying over top of our muscles. Core conditioning will help tone up the muscles underneath, but in order to actually see a difference, you need to move.
When it comes to core conditioning, I love the stability ball for new moms. (It’s also great to just sit and gently bounce on the ball while holding a cuddly baby against you. You’ll get a little workout and soothe your baby at the same time!)
Here are three great core exercises you can do on a stability ball. Start with number one and work up to number three as your core strength increases.
- Sit on the ball with both feet flat on the floor and check your posture.
- Pull your belly button in while focusing on your breathing. Lift one foot off the floor, then lower it back down.
- Repeat with the other foot and continue alternating, doing the exercise 10 times for each foot.
- Sit on the ball and allow your weight to rest on it completely while you slowly walk your feet out away from you, allowing the ball to move down your spine.
- Pause, then slowly walk yourself back up to sitting. Repeat eight to 10 times if possible.
- Sit on the ball, then slowly walk your feet out until your spine is resting on the ball.
- Place your hands behind your head and slowly exhale as you lift your upper body up off the ball. Keep your elbows as wide as possible and maintain space the size of a lemon under your chin so that you are lifting your upper body towards the ceiling as high as you can without compromising your neck.
- Inhale as you slowly lower back down to rest. Repeat 10 times or more if possible.
Andrea Grace is a pre- and post-natal fitness expert and the creator of Mommy and Baby Fitness programs with locations across North America. www.mommyandbabyfitness.com