Regular exercise has an enormous amount of health benefits – all of which apply equally to a new mother as at any other stage of her life.
These benefits include fat loss, increased aerobic fitness, social interaction and mental health. Exercise after giving birth can also quicken recovery, and assist with muscle strength and toning.
Being a personal trainer for over 10 years now I have trained many mothers pre and post natal. I’ve helped them get back into even better shape than they were pre- baby. I did a 2 day pre and post natal course while i was establishing myself as Adelaide’s best pt and it’s helped me greatly. Most pt’s that give out advice to mothers don’t have the experience or have done any study or qualifications on the subject. Make sure your fitness instructor has done a pre and post natal course or see another trainer.
BENEFITS OF WORKING OUT AFTER YOUR BABY IS BORN
Exercising after you have your baby can improve your physical and mental wellbeing. It also will:
- Help restore muscle strength and firm up your body
- Make you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of wellbeing
- Promotes fat loss
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness so you don’t get puffed out and restore muscle strength
- Strengthen your abdominal and core muscles
- Improve your mood, relieve stress and help prevent postpartum depression.
WHEN TO START POST NATAL EXERCISES
Gentle exercise like walking can generally be started as soon as comfortable after giving birth. Start when you feel up to it. Some women will feel able to start exercising early. Talk with your doctor about when is a good time for you to restart an exercise program.
Six weeks after giving birth, most of the changes that occur during pregnancy will have returned to normal. If you had a caesarean birth, a difficult birth, or complications, it may take a little longer to feel ready to start exercising. Generally 8 weeks. If you did not exercise during pregnancy, start with easy exercises and slowly build up to harder ones. Have a good Personal Trainer so that your exercises scale to your fitness level.
Keep in mind your lower back and core abdominal muscles are weaker than they used to be and your ligaments and joints are also more flexible.
BREASTFEEDING AND EXERCISE
Studies have shown that vigorous or regular exercise does not have adverse effects on a mother’s ability to successfully breastfeed as long as fluid and caloric intake are maintained. Drink plenty of fluids during and after your workout.
PELVIC FLOOR AND KEGEL EXERCISES
The pelvic floor may be adversely affected by pregnancy and childbirth. Most ladies are taught pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy. These can be resumed immediately after giving birth. Make sure you learn correctly how to perform them.
Do your Kegel exercises whenever you can and religiously. The pelvic floor supports the bladder, intestines and utuerus. The added weight of the uterus during pregnancy can stretch out that floor, causing either the intestines or bladder to drop down. This is one of the reasons that many elderly women suffer from incontinence. Prevention is the best medicine. Kegels involve contracting and releasing the PF muscles, similarly to stopping the flow of urination. Tighten and relax the muscle several times a day.
CREATING TIME FOR EXERCISE
When you’re caring for a baby, finding time for physical activity can be challenging. Some days you may simply feel too tired for a full workout. But that doesn’t mean that you should put exercise, fitness and working out on the back burner. Do the best you can and take any chance you can to do exercise as you never know what will pop up to make you miss out. Suggestions include:
- If you have friends who are also mothers, get them to do a group fitness session with your PT. That way you are guaranteed a few weight, cardio and ab exercise workouts a week. You’re with your friends who will motivate you, you can bring your baby and have fun together, and you don’t need a babysitter. Your also under the guidance of a professional trainer who has experience training new mothers.
- Include your baby, lying next to you on the floor, while you do abdominal exercises.
- Eat well, throw away the processed foods and junk.
- Do 1 on 1 personal training with a qualified instructor. It’s so easy to sit back and think about getting back into shape, making excuses, and putting it off till “next week”. Getting a PT who will come to your house motivates you to get into shape and you train regularly.