What if I told you postpartum exercise is NOT just about getting your old body back? As a mom, there are a LOT of things on your schedule. Learn why you should make time for postpartum exercise, even if you’ve never done it before. The benefits are worth it and could make you feel better.
A few weeks after having my daughter, I went shopping on a Sunday afternoon. It was a particularly warm day for January, so I packed up the baby in a stroller and headed out. Up until this point, I had purposely avoided wearing “real clothes” because I was honestly afraid of knowing whether or not I could fit into my old clothing. What I saw in the mirror was disappointing! I didn’t like the way my body looked.
Does that sound familiar? Have you been dreading putting on your old clothes? Avoiding mirrors? Feeling like your new body isn’t beautiful?
Postpartum exercise can be the key to gaining your confidence back Not in the obsessive “snapback” way that society dictates to moms that postpartum exercise should be. There are lots of things to feel good about after having a baby, right? Your body should be one of them!
Why Should I Make Time for Postpartum Exercise?
Did you exercise before you had children? Did you exercise while you were pregnant? If the answer is no, that’s okay! Judgement free zone here. Maybe you’re thinking, now that I have a baby/kids why in the world should I start now? Really quick, let me tell you 5 amazing benefits of postpartum exercise:
- Raises your energy level
- Helps with weight loss and tones your body
- Can help prevent postpartum depression, improve your mood and reduce stress
- Promotes better sleep
- Increases your confidence levels
When Can I Start a Postpartum Exercise Routine?
Just how soon after birth can you exercise? Well the answer is not straightforward. Every woman and her birthing experience are different. If you had a healthy pregnancy and an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, the ACOG says its fine to start exercise a few days after giving birth! If that sounds soon, the important thing to consider here is listen to your body.
If you had a difficult birth, C-section or other complications, speak to your doctor first before starting any new exercise routine or activities.
What Exercises Can I Start With?
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The First 6 Weeks
Low impact cardio is your friend during this time. Examples of this are walking and stretching. Low impact exercise cause less biomechanical stress on your body. Low impact doesn’t mean its non beneficial, these can impact your fitness just as much as high impact.
You might feel like you need to start right away on postpartum exercise to reduce the tummy, but you don’t have to focus on this just yet!
One To Two Months
You can continue your low impact cardio and do cycling, elliptical, etc. Add strength training to the mix if you’re up to it! Did you know carrying your baby around is actually a form of strength exercise?
Three to Four Months
Continue with everything from before. You could also try workouts like pilates, yoga and barre. These are whole body workouts that can also improve your core strength and stability.
Beyond 6 Months
You can begin high intensity workouts or resume them around this time. You can keep your low impact cardio in the mix as well. You’ll still be taking cues from your body about you’re able to do. Examples include:
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Jumping rope
- Cardio dancing
So where can you find the best postpartum exercises? I am huge fan of working out at home and outdoors with baby. If you’re not a fan of the gym, you’re in luck. There are many options you can do for free or very cheap!
Postpartum Workout Videos
Check out Youtube for workout videos you can do from home. Two channels I highly recommend are below.
How Long Should I Exercise?
Every minute is precious as a mom, but the good news is research shows that any amount of time you spend exercising is beneficial. So if you can only start out with 10-15 minutes to begin with, thats absolutely fine! You can always work your way up to more time.
Tips for Starting and Keeping Postpartum Exercise in Your Schedule
Get Started With Postpartum Exercise! The Next Step
So even though I left the dressing room that day feeling not so great about my new mom body, I’ve had time to refocus and readjust. I’m not going to focus on on feeling down when I can do something about it! I was an avid runner before getting pregnant so I plan on returning to that. I hope to include my baby girl on my runs as well.
Prioritize setting time aside for exercise. Don’t make the excuse that there isn’t enough time or put it off until you have more time. Moms are always busy. Putting time aside for taking care of yourself is beneficial for the whole family.
Have you decided to start a postpartum exercise routine? If you’re new to working out, let me know what you’ll be doing!
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