15 Jul 7 tips to exercise postpartum
As we have more and more clients postpartum and I get asked a few questions on what is safe and not safe to do after delivery I thought I would share a quick article here!
We get so much information on what to do DURING pregnancy, but it feels like you are a bit on your own once baby is here! Not to worry, I have listed 7 things you should know before you start working out postpartum. Enjoy!
1. Take your time
The first question I get from our post natal clients is WHEN? When can I exercise again? For most of us we should be able to workout again around 6 weeks after delivery but sorry to disappoint you here but there is no definite timeline as every body and every delivery is different. Your return to exercise date it will depend on 2 factors:
– how you feel (honestly) physically and mentally. Are you ready to exercise again?
– has your doctor given you the green light to exercise again?
Only once these two requirements are met, you should get back to exercise. Do not rush it and give your body the rest time it deserves.
2. Take it slow
So the doctor told you “you are all good to go!” and you feel ready to get in the game again so you go straight back to your favorite Zumba class? Not so fast! Delivering is like running a marathon, your body has been through a lot of changes lately and the worst you can do is to push it too hard at first. Once you are back to exercise, make sure you take it down a notch and slowly but surely build up from there. Why not taking your usual class to the water? It will give you a safer, low impact way to get back to your fitself!
Very important point: Manage your expectations. Do not expect to start where you left otherwise you are up for disappointment. No one ever runs at the same pace, nor push the exact same weights right as pre pregnancy and you know what, that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Muscles have a memory and if you are consistent, you will get back to your pre-baby fitness level soon enough!
3. Listen to your body
Finding the time and strength to get out of the house and take care of your body is already a small victory you should celebrate. Just listen to your body and make sure you are comfortable the whole way through your exercise. Something feels wrong? Just tell your instructor, I am sure he or she will have an alternative exercise for you.
Always remember, pregnant, post-partum or just anyone reading this post, fitness professionals are usually quite good at reading facial expressions but are not mind readers just yet. Only YOU know how you feel inside. Tell your instructor and he/she will gladly help make the class as enjoyable as possible for you . You need a break? JUST TAKE IT!
4. Focus on your abs and pelvic floor
Vaginal delivery requires a lot of work from your pelvic floor muscles and lower abs, and that section of your body would have changed quite a bit after delivery.
For a lot of our clients, it is even hard to regain feelings in this area in the first few weeks post delivery. There is also diastasis recti (when the right and left abdominal muscles separate). Most of us would have it to a certain degree during pregnancy but for some mamas you will still see some separation up to six months to a year after delivery. Diastasis recti is not dangerous nor painful but it makes your belly look bloated for a while which can cause a bit of discomfort.
How do we fight diastasis recti and/ or get that region turn up again?
I am glad you asked…you work these muscles as a priority! The only way to regain strength and stability in this area is to contract those muscles. Pilates or post-natal yoga would be a good place to start. No time to go to an exercise class? No problem, I will give you a few exercises to do at home with no equipment at the end of this post.
5. Mind your wobbly joints
Did you know that relaxin, the hormone responsible of loosening tissue, ligaments and joints for labor stays in the body up to 6 months post-delivery? Yep that means you will need to avoid any activity that has sudden change of pace or direction, just to be on the safe side. Try to avoid dancing, Zumba or any fast pace exercises right after delivery as you might not feel as stable as you use to for a little while.
On the same note try to avoid high impacts workouts as it can get quite uncomfortable to jump with breasts full of milk if you are breastfeeding and you will be putting extra pressure on soft bones and joints with extra weight. To be on the safe side, choose water based activities, with a low impact and slower pace you will be enjoying a great workout without worrying of injuries!
6. Stay well fed and hydrated
That sounds like an obvious one but guess what? Most of our clients forget about their water bottles during exercise! Especially if you are breastfeeding, always bring a bottle of water with you as soon as you leave the house, and do not forget to drink regularly throughout the day as well as before, during and after your workout.
Same goes with the food! Without even mentioning the effect on losing the baby weight, eating the right foods will ensure your body functions efficiently so you can have the energy needed to take care of your new bundle of joy! Give your body the food it deserves: no packaged food, lots of veggies, grains and lean meats would be ideal.
7. Think about your spine
As you get into a brand new lifestyle, you will most likely feel some aches and pain. Guess what there is a way to avoid (most of) it! Be mindful of your position at all times. New mums tend to forget about their bodies position after the birth of their baby. Reaching for something at the end of the counter with baby in your hands? Make sure you do not twist too much. Grabbing something from the floor? Always remember to face the object and bend your knees instead of your back.
As we said earlier, you our muscles and bone structure can be slightly weaker after giving birth and there are no emergency greater than making sure you do not injure yourself.
Always focus on your alignment in your daily life and during your workouts!
BONUS: A few workouts you can do safely at home:
I found a great video with a few safe exercises to do from home. No equipment required so no excuses!
Any questions we are here to help. You would like to hear more on that subject? Please feel free to give me a call at 96989202.
See you soon!