How Does Pilates Help Postnatal Toning?

3 benefits of practicing Pilates after the baby arrives

After the little one is born, most moms are anxious to get their old body back, especially since they'll never get their old life back. Although celebrities and models make it seem like it's a piece of cake to get your figure back instantly after you give birth, the truth is its a lot of hard work and it takes time. But, Pilates can help in many ways.

Flattening your tummy

On the radar for the new mother is a postnatal workout that involves flattening the stomach. Many new moms are frustrated with the weight they’ve gained due to pregnancy, and they can’t wait to get back into their before-baby jeans. Pilates is a great exercise to flatten the stomach after pregnancy and slowly get you back into the routine of working out.

According to Louise Beckley, a Seattle-based certified Pilates instructor, Pilates works on your core stomach muscles with every exercise, so it’s great for those who are hoping to sport a bikini while taking the new baby to the pool.

Beating incontinence

Although many mothers are thinking only of their image when it comes to postnatal fitness, there is another problem that some new moms face — incontinence. According to a 2005 study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 30 percent of women report postnatal incontinence, while women who suffered from leaks before pregnancy were more likely to suffer the problem after giving birth. A study published in the April 2010 issue of the International Urogynecology Journal showed that a Pilates exercise program strengthens the muscles in the pelvis that are responsible for incontinence.

Building strength

Being a mom is hard work. It’s not just emotionally taxing, but the physical burdens are immense. Building strength training into your post pregnancy exercise routine is necessary because you now have to lift and carry a baby (as well as a car seat and often diaper bags and a playpen) with you wherever you go! And in just a few months, you have to carry that same baby while he or she is kicking, screaming and saying “no!” This is all part of the joys of motherhood, but it’s much easier to deal with if you’re physically fit.

Because Pilates is a strength-building exercise that tones your core, you can prepare yourself for strenuous lifting with this workout. In addition, Pilates is a low-impact exercise that requires you to use both the body and the mind. It not only allows you to exercise at your pace as you recover from the delivery, but you'll also take a step toward increasing overall wellness with Pilates — something you’ll need with a child to care for!

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