Back in the Saddle: How to Slowly Begin Exercising After Giving Birth
Most women recover after birth in six to eight weeks. However, for some women, it may take even longer than that. Giving birth is a miracle that the woman’s body was designed to do, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a mental, physical, and emotional toll on every mother out there.
With societal pressures to look as good as new just after you give birth, many moms feel insecure about their new postpartum bodies. Some moms just miss feeling good about themselves or the boost in serotonin that comes from working out. No matter what it may be, exercising after giving birth is normal and common.
As long as you’ve got the okay from your doctor, keep reading to figure out exercises to do after giving birth.
Exercising After Giving Birth
Many new mothers wonder how soon after giving birth can you exercise. Doctors will advise women with uncomplicated births that they’re clear to start gentle exercising as soon as they feel up to it. However, if you’ve had a c section or complications during childbirth, you may have to wait longer.
It is common, though, for many women to do gentle exercising such as walking, floor exercises, and pelvic floor exercises within even the first week of giving birth. The best bet is to take things slowly.
It took nine to ten months to develop a human body inside of your own and then push it out of you. During that time, your body changed drastically, so it’s going to take time to get back into the shape you want to be in.
Don’t overdo it. While there are many perks to working out, you’re most likely sleep deprived, maybe still bleeding, and even delirious from having a newborn. Working out can be a great time to spend on yourself, but going overkill in the gym right away could lead to more fatigue than you can take on.
Start by going on short walks or doing light pelvic floor exercises from home. This is an easy way to work your way up to a more vigorous exercise routine while seeing what your body can currently handle. You don’t want to postpone your recovery by expending yourself too much.
Working Out While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding mothers’ bodies are literally connected to their babies. It’s typical for breastmilk to come in two to five days after giving birth, but for some women, it takes a little longer. If you started vigorously working out right away while not consuming enough calories, you could sacrifice your milk supply.
Many women also lose weight naturally from breastfeeding. While you’ll have a larger appetite to keep up with the extra calories going toward feeding your baby, many women still shed off some extra baby weight while breastfeeding.
Keep this in mind before you hit the gym, as you’ll want to account for what weight you’ll lose from breastfeeding and how much extra food you’ll need to eat from working out too.
An easily overlooked aspect of returning to exercising after giving birth is staying hydrated. If you are breastfeeding, you’ll know how much thirstier you already get from this. But, if you exercise too, you need to replenish yourself.
Stay hydrated by drinking water during exercising. Also, replenish your electrolytes with magnesium or something like coconut water.
Exercises to Do After Giving Birth
So, when it comes to exercises to do after giving birth, there are numerous things you can do. Certain sites like Brighter Fitness offer free online videos of core exercises after giving birth. There are also many great videos for pelvic exercises after giving birth.
Some great options include the following as well:
- Aerobics (Low-impact)
For some easy ab exercises, start by laying on a yoga mat. You can lay with your knees bent, or with your legs straight, depending on what’s most comfortable. Pull your tummy to your spine, holding for ten seconds.
Repeat as much as you want.
In a sitting position, squeeze the muscles around your vagina. Hold and count to ten. Repeat ten times.
These are simple exercises for strengthening your abs and pelvic floor muscles. These are best done at the beginning of your postpartum phase, as you can work your way up to harder routines when your body has recovered from giving birth.
After your full postpartum recovery, after about six to eight weeks, you can train harder. You may introduce jogging into your exercise routine or even lifting weights.
Squats, lunges, and arm exercises are all great after this period as well. Increasing your heart rate through cardio is another great way to sweat and shed off some extra calories.
The cat-cow exercise is good for your abdominals. Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Look up to the ceiling as you breathe in.
Then, breathe out and round your spine, looking down toward the ground. Repeat as much as you like to exercise your abs and stretch your spine.
The clam exercise is another good one for both your abs and pelvic floor. Lay on one side. Bend your knees together in a mermaid position. Then lift one knee up, but stop when your body starts to fall out of alignment.
Open and close your knee fifteen to twenty times. Repeat lying on both sides.
Moms can easily get overwhelmed. They’re needed by their partners, by their kids, and even by themselves too. Exercising is a great way to give yourself the time, care, and attention you deserve.
However, if you overexert yourself, you’ll become exhausted, more exhausted than you already are. So, give yourself a break when necessary too.
Follow these great tips for exercising after giving birth so that you can get back to looking and feeling like yourself again. For more tips, read our other health-related articles.