If you're determined to shed a few pounds after giving birth, you're probably already hitting the treadmill for a speed walking session or sweating it out on the elliptical. But did you know there are some ways to ramp up your cardio routine so you can get more out of your workout in less time?
Many medical professionals recommend undertaking only about 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity three to five times per week during the postpartum phase so that you can ease your body back into strenuous activities. If you want more benefits from these short spurts of cardio, here's what you need to do.
1. Add some weights. Consider strapping on some ankle weights or hand weights when you hit the treadmill so that you have more resistance to work with. More resistance can help you burn more calories per hour, and will also strengthen and tone your core muscles.
2. Bump up the resistance level on the elliptical. Raise the incline setting on your elliptical machine so you burn more calories each session. You can also try a pre-programmed hill climb or the "random" setting to challenge your body more than a regular routine.
3. Step things up on the Stairmaster. Grab those walking shoes and hit the stairmaster for a serious cardio burn and work off a few hundred calories per hour. This piece of cardio equipment is one of the best calorie-burners for those shorter workouts, and you'll enjoy the added benefit of strengthening your core muscles - including your abs - while you train.
Don't forget to warm up and cool down for each cardio circuit to protect your muscles and joints, and reduce the risk of injury. Your body will still be adjusting to the effects of pregnancy for about three months after you give birth, so you need to ease yourself into a new routine and pay attention to how your body's feeling.
As always, check with your physician before starting a workout routine or when embarking on a weight loss program. You need to make sure your body is in good shape to handle the effects of strenuous exercise.