Updated: Mar 27
After having a baby, it is natural to want to get back into your pre-pregnancy exercise routine at some point.
First, you need to make sure that you talk to your doctor about when it is safe to resume an exercise routine. Then, you want to make sure to start slowly. Pregnancy and birth puts an enormous pressure on your body, and being gentle with yourself to accommodate these changes will ensure that you don't accidently injure yourself with moving too quickly.
Typically, you will have a 6-week post-partum visit with your doctor, this is a good time to check with them about your recovery, and find out if it is safe to start with an exercise program again.
Be sure to ask your doctor specific questions about the type of exercises that you want to do, so you will know if it will be safe. For example, how soon you can do sit-ups after a c-section.
There are many health benefits to starting an exercise program post-partum.
According to the Mayo Clinic,
Regular exercise after pregnancy can:
Promote weight loss, particularly when combined with reduced calorie intake
Improve your cardiovascular fitness
Strengthen and tone abdominal muscles
Boost your energy level
Staying physically active can also help:
Promote better sleep
Reduce symptoms of postpartum depression
Better yet, including physical activity in your daily routine helps you set a positive example for your child now and in the years to come.
Getting back into your pre-pregnancy exercise routine may also help to bring back some degree of normalcy after your pregnancy and birth experience. It is good for your physical and mental health to do things that you enjoy. If you enjoy exercise, this is a huge added benefit.
Start Off Slowly
Imagine that you are starting an exercise program from scratch (maybe you are!) and be sure to take things slow and gentle.
You may want to start with short workouts, about 15 minutes or less, and then gradually increase the time that you spend working out.
Both of these tips will allow you to ease into exercise, and allow your body time to get used to the new level of physical activity. Having a baby can majorly change your body, and puts stress on your health in various ways. After the pregnancy and birth, you want to ensure that you don't do too much too fast and injure yourself.
This is true even if you are a seasoned athlete. Don't expect to go back to an hour-long HIIT workout right away post-partum.
Gentle Fitness Routines
There are many different types of easy, gentle exercise routines that you can start with as soon as your doctor tells you that it is alright for you to start. You can even try mommy and baby exercise classes, as pictured above.
According to NHS-UK, here are some different gentle types of exercises that you may want to try:
Additionally, they advise that,
Low-impact exercises can improve your health and fitness without harming your joints.
Research suggests moderate-intensity, low-impact activity, such as yoga and fast walking, is just as effective as high-impact activity, such as running, in lowering the risk of heart disease.
You don't need to worry about pushing yourself too hard right away, the important thing is just to get your body moving again. We all know how it goes late into the third trimester and the exhaustion that may keep you at home late into pregnancy. Starting to exercise again is a great way to start bouncing back again.
Something to keep in mind with all these types of workouts is that they are low-impact. That makes them more gentle on your body than jogging or lifting weights.
Personally, my favorite exercises are swimming, yoga and walking.
For more tips to get started with Yoga or Walking, check out these other articles:
Let me know what you think in the comments. What kind of exercises do you love? What are your fitness goals post-partum? As always, let me know if there are other topics you would like me to cover in more detail next time!