4 post-natal exercises that don’t feel like exercise

Easy post-natal exercises to do at home | Mum's Grapevine

Mummas with little bubbas who’re itching to get active, we’ve found the perfect way to ease back into exercise, have fun and get the housework done. Seriously.

Women’s Health Physiotherapist Chloe Lorback is revealing her four favourite post-natal exercises that don’t feel like exercise (that you might actually do). Ever heard of the ‘doing the washing squats’? What about ‘brushing your teeth calf raises’? Then read on …

Chloe Lorback 28 by Sam Wood

I get it, you want to exercise, you know it will make you feel good, but you are SO TIRED, and cannot be bothered. Put leggings on? Umm, no thanks. Get to the gym with the yummy mummies? Umm, maybe next year.

Some days you totally lack any motivation to do exercise, so here are my favourite moves that will have you smiling to yourself that you totally NAILED that at-home-workout.

1. Doing the washing squats

I remember the shock when we went from being a tidy, neat couple, to a family. Our tiny baby was a refluxy spewer, and so that involved at least three outfit changes each day, as well as muslin cloths, bibs and the old-fashioned cloth nappies that we used to pop over a shoulder and try to protect ourselves from being vomited on.

As dorky as it sounds, when I did the washing, I would turn it into a mini squat and calf raise sesh. Keep your back straight while you squat down to put the washing in the machine, calf raise as you reach up to put it in the dryer. I would deliberately put just a few things in at a time to build up the reps. Then once I’d loaded the washer, I would stand there and do 20 squats while I listened to the water filling the machine. Dorky? Yes! But it all adds up, right?

2. Dancing with your bub

Sometimes when it’s just you and your bub at home all day, it can feel a little quiet. So I loved pumping out some tunes when my little man was awake and dancing around the lounge room with him. Sometimes when he was playing on the mat I would dance around him. Sure, sometimes I felt like I was in a scene from Candid Camera, but it felt good to get my body moving for just a few minutes, and belting out 80’s tunes – loudly – is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face (even your bubbas).

3. Brushing your teeth calf raises

Ok so some days you might feel like it’s impossible to have time to get to the shower, but I guarantee you’ll always make time to brush your teeth. So instead of just standing there, rise up onto the balls of your toes, using your calf muscles, and slowly lower. If you want to get really fancy, incorporate a pelvic floor squeeze, so as you rise up squeeze your pelvic floor, then release as you lower. Try and keep the reps going for the whole time you’re brushing. It’s a great habit to get into, in fact, I still do it now and my baby is six!

4. Instagram scrolling pelvic floor squeezes

When you are sitting on the couch feeding, it’s pretty tempting to have a little look at what all the other mums out there in mum land are up to (or trying to convince you they’re up to). Instead of sitting there feeling inadequate, because you are still in your pyjamas, not at a fancy event wearing actual make-up and with bouncy blow-wave hair, do your pelvic floor squeezes. Tighten around your back passage, pull up through your pelvic floor, hold for five seconds, and release. Aim for 5-10 reps, and get into the habit of doing this every time you feed. (And don’t believe everything you see on Instagram).

These simple little daily movements will slowly build up your strength and often create a bit of momentum so that you feel like doing a bit more of a workout. That’s the perfect time to press play on the 28 by Sam Wood postnatal program, as you can literally do it in your PJ’s, but you’ll start to get stronger and fitter, and best of all, feel more energetic and bit more like your old self. The low impact workouts are safe but effective, and with four rounds of 7-minute intervals, you can even high five yourself if you just get one round done.

Building daily exercise habits, starting off small and building up gradually, is a great way to take some time looking after your own wellbeing, instead of ALL the focus being on your bub. Moving regularly will help you to feel better, improve your mood, get you smiling, and you might even be nicer to your partner. Happy wife, happy life!

Note: Just remember, you should always head back to the doctor after six weeks to check that everything is healing well, and once you get the all-clear you should be fine to get back into some gentle exercise. If you have any pain, or a feeling of heaviness in the vagina or bottom, or any other concerns, you need to stop exercising and check in with your doctor.

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Chloe Lorback has always had a passion for women’s health, exercising during pregnancy and the post-natal period. She combined this love with her Pilates studies to establish Fit to Deliver in 2003 and is now also the 28 by Sam Wood Pregnancy and Post Natal Expert. Chloe has three young boys and enjoys the balance of being able to teach Pilates, regularly lecture at Melbourne University, do physio and of course – be a mum!