How to start exercising again after you've given birth
Recently had a baby? Not quite sure where to start with your exercise and fitness routine? Here are some helpful tips and guidelines:
When starting an exercise program, always make sure that the exercise professional you are working with has you fill out a Par Q Form or Par Med X Form (if you are pregnant).
Benefits of exercising postpartum:
- Quicker physical and emotional recovery
- Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight
- Builds stronger bones, muscles and joints
- Improves abdominal strength and tone
- Prevents urinary incontinence
Before you start exercising, there are a few precautions you might want to take:
- Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Wait six weeks postpartum before exercising.
- Discontinue any exercise that causes pain.
- Wear good running shoes and a supportive sports bra.
- Stay hydrated (drink 1 L of water for every hour that you exercise).
- Have a light snack before exercising: I recommend carbs or a banana 1-2 hrs before).
- Avoid sudden, jarring movements when beginning back into an exercise routine.
There are three different types of exercise you can do:
Any activity that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Cardio strengthens your heart and lungs, burns calories and helps with weight loss.
(For example: walking, running, aerobics classes, biking, interval training, circuit training, bootcamps)
Exercise using weights or body weight exercises, tubing, bands, balls etc. It helps maintain strong muscles, increase or maintain high bone density, burn calories, tone, add definition and trim inches.
(For example: weight training classes, weights at the gym, bootcamps, circuit training, squats, lunges)
Exercises that stretch and lengthen our muscles. It helps prevent injuries, decrease stiffness or soreness and maintain a sense of calm and balance in our body.
(For example: yoga, static stretching, dynamic stretching)
Keeping on track:
- Keep a schedule. Make it an appointment, write it down, stick to it!
- Set a goal. Make it a SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).
- Mentally prepare and encourage yourself. Tell yourself YOU CAN DO IT!
- Start small. Exercise 30 minutes, twice a week, or 20 minutes, three times a week, and build it up gradually.
- Exercise with a buddy. It's always easier with a support group or someone else since you can keep each other motivated.
- Make it fun. Find something that you enjoy doing.
Seventy per cent of people quit their exercise programs, but not YOU!
Love yourself, love your body, feed and fuel it with nutritious, healthy fuel and make time for yourself!