Regaining a flat stomach after a hysterectomy may not be the first thing you think of following the procedure. But if swelling and underused muscles are bothering you after several weeks of rest and recovery, it may help to know that getting in shape after a hysterectomy is an achievable goal.
To ensure proper healing, it’s important to wait several weeks after your hysterectomy to resume strength training and intense cardio. Confirm with your doctor that you're ready before attempting any stomach-flattening moves that require straining your muscles.
The majority of moves designed to help you regain a flat stomach after a hysterectomy begin on your back. These gentle movements can be done in bed when you start out, if getting to the floor is still a challenge. For getting in shape after hysterectomy, try to do these moves every day, about 10 times per exercise. Don't hold your breath at any point, because this can raise your blood pressure.
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A modified pelvic tilt starts with your knees bent, facing the ceiling. Place one hand under your lower back and one on your stomach. Press your back down as you tighten your stomach muscles and buttocks to support that downward pressure. Hold this clench for 5 seconds, release, then repeat.
To tighten the sides of your abdomen, do knee rolling exercises. Your hands will be stretched out at your sides, palms down, with your knees bent and facing the ceiling. Tense your stomach muscles and twist your knees to one side, aiming to press your outer leg to the bed. Move back to the original position, then roll your knees to the other side, before moving back to the original position again.
Read more: 10 Ways to Beat Belly Bloat
Adding Moves Later in Recovery
When the doctor gives the go-ahead, you can add other moves to your routine. As with the other moves, they should be repeated up to 10 times each.
Start with a modified sit-up. With your hands cradling the back of your head, lift your shoulders and head, hold for a few seconds, and gently put your head back down. Your back should remain flat on the bed or mat for the duration of this exercise. Exhale gently with each lift, then breath in as you lower your head. Repeat about 10 times.
You can also work on your flat stomach after hysterectomy by doing stomach tightening moves on your hands and knees. If this is too much of a strain, kneel in front of a chair with pillows under your knees, and on the chair seat for elbow support. For peak effectiveness, move only your stomach muscles. Exhale and draw your abs in for a few seconds, release while breathing in, and repeat.
Other Causes of Swollen Belly After Hysterectomy
If your stomach feels more rounded than it was before the surgery, it's not necessarily just slackened muscles that are causing the "pooch." There may be another cause of a swollen belly after hysterectomy. Swelling is normal following abdominal surgery. Fluids and cells move to the site of the surgical incisions to aid healing.
In addition, hysterectomies can cause hormone fluctuations which include bloating, similar to what you may have experienced just before getting your period. Within several weeks, the rounded belly may flatten on its own.
To enhance getting in shape after a hysterectomy, you can also adjust your diet and add other workout routines to encourage a flatter stomach. Eating more lean proteins helps you convert fat to muscle. Cutting back on calories is a good idea, but eat enough to fuel your workouts and daily life. Cardio workouts can also support your stomach-flattening goals, so try to work in at least 20 minutes of walking, swimming, or other aerobic activities each day.
Read more: 10 Types of Low-Impact Exercise