If you have recently had a child, you may be ready to dive into the world of exercise and get your pre-pregnancy body back. While there are many exercise choices available to new mothers, ballet is becoming a popular class for adult beginners. While there are many benefits to ballet, such as improved balance, posture, strength, and coordination, you have to know how to approach your new class in order to get the most out of it.
As a recently pregnant women, whose body has gone through many changes, here are five tips that will help you see quick and lasting benefits from your beginner's ballet class:
- Be Kind to Yourself. Open and beginning ballet classes often have students with varying levels of ability and experience. You should refrain from comparing yourself to others. For the first couple of months, try not to set any goals and instead simply enjoy the experience of the class. Spend your time reconnecting with your body and its abilities rather than critiquing it.
- Practice Outside of Class. To increase flexibility, you need to stretch between 3-7 times per week. Similarly, strength training should be done 2-3 times a week to get the most benefits. The great thing about ballet, is that you can practice a few exercises every day without over-exerting yourself. Consider practicing for 15-20 minutes during a lunch break at work or while your baby is napping at home. Practicing every day will increase the health benefits and improve your technique. It will also prepare you for class so you can get the most from your time with your instructor.
- Forget What Your Body Used to Be Able to Do. If you used to take ballet classes or did another type of work-out before you became pregnant, you may have expectations of what you should be able to do. It is likely that you will not be able to pick up where you left off, though. Instead of comparing yourself to what you used to be able to do, you should concentrate on building new skills and developing a relationship with your current body.
- Take Two or More Classes Each Week. Similar to practicing a little bit each day, taking multiple classes each week will help to develop your skills and physical abilities more quickly. Two classes each week will also give you a much needed mental rest from the pressures of motherhood while allowing you to develop a relationship with your instructor.
- Don't Give Up. The physical benefits of ballet tend to develop over time. You may feel clumsy, tired, or sore during your first few classes. Whenever you master one skill, your instructor will likely give you a new skill to learn that will make you feel clumsy all over again. However, if you stick with ballet, you will suddenly realize that turns are easier and you are dipping lower on your plies. Since ballet skills are built gradually, you should commit to at least two months of classes before you begin. Consider video taping yourself doing basic exercises after your first ballet lesson and then comparing yourself to your tape after two months of classes. You may be surprised to see how far you have actually progressed.
Ballet can be an excellent post-pregnancy exercise program. Beginning ballet classes can be completed without causing strain to your abdominal region and yet they will slowly develop strength and coordination. However, before you enroll in a class, you may want to discuss your intentions with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend waiting for six weeks after birth before starting any new exercise routine.