As you have most likely discovered by now, parenthood is a physical and emotional marathon! There can be dirty diapers, soothing sessions that last for hours, feedings, miscommunications with your partner, and sleepless nights. The idea of exercising may seem impossible, but even moving and connecting to your body for a few minutes can make a huge difference in how you feel.
Core exercises are particularly beneficial for new parents. Your baby is only going to become heavier and building core strength will help you pick up and carry your baby (or stroller…or car seat… etc.) more easily and with less discomfort. Core exercises also help you recover from pregnancy and birth by improving your body awareness. Your belly and pelvic floor muscles might feel non-existent and practicing core exercises can help slowly reacquaint you with these areas. Lastly, core exercises help relieve stress by inviting you to slow down and focus on your breath and body.
Are you ready for the exercises?
These exercises only take a few minutes and can be done solo or with your partner to foster connection.
Buttoning the Jeans
Setup: Lie down with your knees bent and feet about hip width apart. Wrap your hands around your lower ribs.
- Inhale and feel your ribs expand into your hands like an umbrella opening.
- Exhale slowly and feel how your ribs soften in like an umbrella closing.
- Repeat a few more times.
Setup: Bring your fingers to rest on your lower belly, below your belly button and above your pubic bone.
- Inhale and feel your belly gently rise (ribs also expand).
- Exhale with a hissing sound through your mouth and slowly draw your belly in as though you are buttoning a pair of low cut jeans.
- Repeat a few more times, keeping your butt and upper body relaxed.
Rolling the Marble
Setup: Same position as above. Imagine you have a marble inside your pelvis.
- Exhale and tilt your pelvis so that your marble rolls towards your chest (lower back imprints into floor). Your abdominals draw in.
- Inhale and tilt your pelvis the other direction so that the marble rolls towards your feet (lower back arches away from floor).
- Repeat a few times, making the motion smooth.
- Exhale to roll the marble off of your right hip. Imagine the motion being initiated from inside your belly.
- Inhale come to center
- Repeat to the other side.
- Repeat a few rounds while keeping your knees and upper body stable.
Set up: Come onto hands and knees and find a flat back. Draw your belly lightly in towards your spine.
- Keeping your back stable, slowly extend one leg back behind you, tucking the toes under against the floor.
- Lift your opposite hand to your lower belly.
- Take a few breaths and then slowly come back to starting position.
- Switch sides
- Repeat a few times. Focus on keeping your back flat and your belly lifted throughout.
Although parenthood is challenging and self-care can seem daunting, you CAN do this! Consistently practicing these exercises will help you build strength, reduce stress, alleviate stiffness, and build confidence.
Kirsten Adler is the founder of Explore Movement, a yoga, Pilates and Gyrotonic studio in Brooklyn that helps people move away from pain, and reduce stiffness, so they can build confidence their body. Kirsten’s inspiration and expertise draws from: a professional dance background, certifications in yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonic, sixteen years of working one on one with clients, and motherhood. Kirsten’s passion for helping others currently extends to both private and group classes. For more information, visit www.exploremovement.com or on IG @exploremovement.