Fitness after Baby: 5 Simple Tips to Help You Get in Shape
Every new mom wants to snap back into pre-pregnancy shape the moment their newborn is in their arms. But in reality, it doesn’t happen that quickly – and it shouldn’t. Your body has just been through nine months of change and has produced a little miracle as a result. The best thing you can do for both your body and your mind is to ease back into a routine with patience and minimal expectations. Getting in shape after baby can look different for everyone – there’s many things you can do get into shape again and to stay motivated to do so. We’ve compiled the top 5 tips to help you ease back into fitness after baby and help you lose that mummy tummy for good!
Why should I exercise after pregnancy?
- Helps to promote weight loss, especially when combined with a reduced calorie intake
- Helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles
- Helps to boost your energy level
- Can help relieve stress
- Promotes better sleep
- Helps to set a positive, healthy example for your children
Here are 5 simple ways to get your body back after baby:
1. Ease into it slowly
Give yourself some time after baby before you start any fitness routine. Generally if you’ve had a c-section, you should wait at least six weeks before starting to workout. For a vaginal birth, you should wait until the bleeding has stopped (at the very least).
Remember not to push yourself too hard in the beginning, as doing too much can actually set you back in your recovery. A good way to slowly ease into exercise is to simply take a walk around your neighborhood with your baby – it’s a good way to get out of the house while getting some gentle exercise in at the same time!
2. Don’t forget about your pelvic floor
One of the key areas to focus on after pregnancy and birth is the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor may have become weak during pregnancy and birth so it’s important that you get your pelvic floor muscles strong again. If your pelvic floor is weak, putting intra-abdominal pressure (doing crunches, Pilates or other ab exercises) can put extra pressure on your pelvic floor and interfere with healing. One of the first forms of exercise after birth should be some daily form of pelvic floor work like the pelvic tilt. Try incorporating the pelvic tilt into your daily routine at least a few times a day.
To do the pelvic tilt:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
- Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your ab muscles and bending your pelvis slightly, making sure you don’t tighten your butt muscles as you do so.
- Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the move 5 times in the beginning, working up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
- Make sure you keep breathing throughout the entire exercise.
3. Loosey, goosey joints
During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin which helps to soften ligaments and joints to help prepare your body for giving birth. And it doesn’t disappear once baby arrives either. It can stay in your body for up to six months post-partum, especially if you breastfeed. This can make any high impact post-partum exercise like running and jumping tough on your joints. To protect your joints, (and help keep joint pain away), avoid strenuous cardio or excessive stretching, which can actually make the problem worse. Instead, focus on low to medium impact exercises and make sure you’re always using proper posture when exercising.
4. Protect your wrists
Once you’ve had that little newborn in your arms for a few weeks, you’ll notice just how much strain is actually put on your wrists every day. That’s why it’s important that you don’t overwork your wrists, especially during exercise. For any exercise that requires you to hold your weight in your hands, like planks, pushups and tricep dips, modify the exercise so that the weight is off your wrists. For example, instead of doing a plank with stretched arms, try doing it on your forearms.
5. Staying Motivated
Staying motivated to exercise, especially with a newborn demanding your attention, can be difficult. To stay motivated, try taking a class with other new moms or go on a stroller walk with a friend who is also a new mom. Working out with others will help hold you accountable and will help you stay motivated at the same time. You can also try giving yourself a reward after accomplishing a goal – whether it’s a new outfit after working out for so many days or a spa day after losing a few pounds. Whatever will help keep up your positive attitude!
As you ease back into fitness after baby, remember to be realistic and patient – it won’t happen overnight and it doesn’t have to. Your body has been through a lot and you’ve got a new little life to take care of – you’re a mom now! It might be hard in the beginning to find time to exercise but remember you also need to take care of yourself. Start by scheduling one or two days a week to exercise – ask your partner, family or friends to help you out as needed. Getting in shape after pregnancy isn’t easy – but it doesn’t have to be hard either. Stay focused, stay motivated and don’t give up!
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