After giving birth, most new moms start wondering when they can go back to exercising and what movements are good for them to do. Fortunately for you, we’ve prepared this short article to target those two topics and help you get back into the swing of things in no time.
No matter how fit you were before you got pregnant, choosing the best postpartum exercises can be challenging for several reasons. First, you have a brand new baby in the house – one that requires care and attention. Second, you’re bound to feel more tired and sluggish as you adapt to the schedule of your child and to your newfound duties.
With that said, exercising after giving birth can actually help you start to feel better quicker. Not only will it force you to take some time for yourself, but it will also allow your body to return to your pre-pregnancy ways. And no, that’s not about looking the same but about feeling more confident and relaxed as you adapt to being a mom.
Exercising brings both mental and physical benefits. On the one hand, it enables your body to heal and get stronger over time. On the other, it gives you time to focus on yourself and to take a mental break from all the daily worries and stresses. It also gives you a sense of getting back to your old habits and returning to your true self – the one that wasn’t only a mom but also a daughter, friend, and independent person.
But setting aside the mental benefits, exercising regularly can help you lose weight and get stronger and fitter while also helping you sleep better.
The first and most important thing we should mention is that you have to consult with your doctor and get their approval before starting any kind of workout regime. Many healthcare professionals would recommend that you wait between six and eight weeks after you give birth before starting to train again.
However, that’s not a universal number – if you had any complications during the pregnancy or labor, then you might need more time to recover, and your doctor is the person who knows that best. So on this one, don’t trust the internet, instead, consult with a professional.
Along with that, it’s good to remember that you don’t have to rush back to exercise. In fact, for some women, it’s better to start off slow and with easy workouts than to immediately jump to what they were doing pre-pregnancy, especially if that included high-intensity workouts.
Regardless of how long you have to wait before you hop back on the exercise train, our recommendation is to always begin with things that are relatively easy – that includes taking longer walks, doing low-impact bodyweight exercises or pilates and yoga (you can find classes that are specifically designed for new moms). In those early stages, you can also use a vibration plate machine that will help you gain back some of the strength that your muscles might have lost in the last ten months to a year.
It’s hard to list the best exercises and claim that this is the most comprehensive list. That’s because the best workouts for you depend on what you want to achieve and what makes you feel good. Having said that, allow us to mention some of the exercises that we consider must-dos in your postpartum training routine.
This is an exercise that can be done with light dumbbells or with cables. It’s a good idea to start with light weights and progress over time. If you opt for using a cable, you have to remember to keep your shoulder square as you stand tall.
If you have dumbbells available, then it’s key to slightly hinge at the waist and to keep your knees relaxed. As you do the movement, engage the abs and pull the weight until your arm forms a 90-degree angle by the side of your body. Repeat 10 times on one arm and then switch.
Doing a real push-up with your hands on the floor and your legs on your toes might be too difficult at the start. Thankfully, this exercise has many great variations.
You can start with your knees on the floor or with your arms elevated on the couch or on a bench. Aim to do 10-12 repetitions for several sets before moving on to other exercises. What’s vital to keep in mind here is to engage the core as your lower to the ground and to push off with as much power as you can.
This exercise requires you to lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet firmly blacked on the ground. From there, you have to engage your core, legs, and glutes to raise your hips up while your back remains planted on the floor. Repeat the movement for 10-15 reps while making sure that you hold for several seconds at the top.
The squat is perhaps the best-known and most effective lower-body exercise. It also has a ton of variations depending on your fitness levels.
As a new mom, you can start by only using your body weight while making sure that your feet are firmly planted on the ground and that you’re squatting deeply enough so that you’re doing the full range of motion. As you progress, you can use a resistance band or a dumbbell to make the exercise harder. Repeat for anywhere from 15-20 reps.
Begin by lying down on the floor in a supine position. Then lift your right hand and right leg into the air and then lower them down, making sure that your arm lays next to your head and not by your torso. Repeat the same motion with your left arm and then continue switching between the two sides for a total of 20 reps.
Again start by lying down on the floor. Make sure to keep your lower back pressed to the ground as you lift your hands in the air to create a 90-degree angle. Then inhale and lower your legs back down to the floor before lifting them again. Repeat the movement 10 times.
Getting back to your usual workout routine might take some time, but nonetheless, hopping back on the exercise train is bound to make you a happier and happier mom. Hopefully, our article was useful to you, and if so, let us know in the comments below.
Also read: 3rd Pregnancy Announcement