Lower body stretches

Stretching the lower body is extremely important after giving birth because you spend a lot of time sitting and feeding your baby. Sitting too long can result in tight buttocks muscles and sore hips. The following stretches help relieve these aches and pains that are so common in the lower body.

Lying pelvic tilt

This stretch is a great one for improving lower body circulation and relieving pelvic tension. You can also strengthen the abs, legs, and buttocks with this stretch.

To do this exercise, follow these steps:

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

Your back shouldn't be arched, as shown in Figure 13-7a.

2. Inhale through your nose, and as you exhale through your mouth gently draw your abdominal muscles in toward your spine (see Figure 13-7b).

3. Squeeze your buttocks without lifting your hips.

4. Hold for two breaths and then release.

5. Repeat Steps 1 through 4.

Figure 13-7:

Performing the lying pelvic tilt.

Figure 13-7:

Performing the lying pelvic tilt.

A few do's and don'ts for this exercise:

l Do keep your feet flat on the floor during this stretch.

l Do keep your back flat on the floor to keep from arching.

l Don't forget to keep your hands on your abs to feel your muscles tightening.

Kneeling pelvic tilt

By tilting your pelvis toward your spine during this stretch, you're strengthening the abdominal wall as well as stretching out your abdominal muscles. A great stretch for those underused abs!

1. Get on your hands and knees, making sure to keep your back relaxed and not arched (see Figure 13-8a).

2. Inhale and as you exhale, pull your buttocks forward, rotating the pubic bone upward (see Figure 13-8b).

3. Hold this position for three seconds and then relax.

4. Repeat the stretch five times.

Figure 13-8:

On hands and knees with pelvis in neutral position and then buttocks tucked under.

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A few do's and don'ts for this exercise:

I Do keep your back flat and not arched. I Do breathe as you pull your pubic bone upward.

I Don't let your head hang down toward the floor when you're on your hands and knees. Hold it straight and in line with your spine.

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