Tummies sadly don’t snap back into shape after giving birth, but spend 10 minutes a day doing this gentle exercise to work towards a tighter tummy.
‘This is the most effective move to firm, tighten and tone your stomach,’ says expert Zana Morris, nutritionist and founder of The Library Gyms.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent and hands on your hips. Slowly lower yourself down into an almost-seated position for a few seconds, as though you’re about to sit on an imaginary chair that’s just behind you. Hold for a few seconds. Slowly return to the start position and repeat. Keep your feet flat on the floor, your shoulders back and your tummy tight at all times.
For maximum effectiveness use your abdominal muscles to do as much of the work as possible, particularly as you move from the sitting position to upright. You should feel as if you are lifting your tummy up, rather than using your leg muscles to stand up.
If you’re a new mum only squat as low as you feel is easy. And only hold the squatting position for as long as is comfortable, which may only be a second. Start with just a few squats, and build up.
If you’re six months or more post-birth, go lower. The closer your bottom is to the floor, the harder your muscles will work.
Once you’ve mastered it, hold a small weight in each hand (cans of baked beans are ideal).
Spend four minutes doing slow squats: perform squats for one minute, rest for 30 seconds, do another minute of squats, rest for 30 seconds, then do a final minute of squats. Don’t rush: fewer slow, careful squats using your abdominal muscles are more effective than lots of fast squats.
If you’ve had a c-section, speak to your GP before exercising. Only do what is comfortable for you.