New moms face a million and one challenges when transitioning to a life of motherhood, including finding time to get back in shape after pregnancy. With a new baby, you've so many responsibilities to worry about, not to mention requests for time from friends and family, that squeezing in a workout can seem impossible and even indulgent. Don’t fret - here’s all you need to know about working out after you have given birth.
When is it okay to start working out?
It depends on what type of birth you’ve had, but if there were no complications with the delivery you can start working out again a week or so after giving birth. That said, if you're like most mothers, exhaustion will have taken its toll and one week may be too soon. In some cases, you may have to wait up to six weeks before beginning a workout regimen.
Of course, you should talk to your doctor to get a better idea of when you will be able to start exercising. But even if it seems like the last thing you want to do, exercise can really help you during these early months of motherhood. What's more, it's key you don’t wait too long after giving birth to start working out, as the more you put it off, the harder the excess weight gain will be to lose later on.
Where should you start?
It’s really important not to push yourself too hard, too soon after pregnancy. Even if you were working out regularly before giving birth, you will still need time to build up your strength and stamina. After all, your body has been through a major experience.
It’s best to start small with some stretching and easy moves, which will help your body get used to exercising once again. Pelvic tilts, kegels, head lifts and shoulder lifts are some of the best ways to get back in the groove. These simple moves can be done just about any time, and from anywhere, and will help shake the rust off your muscles.
The next step
After starting with some light body weight movements for a week or two, it will be time to get back on the cardio horse. Even if you feel like you can run a mile, take it easy at first. Much like your baby will learn to walk before they run, you should too.
Get your legs back under you by walking for a few days, increasing your distance each time. If you feel like you are able to run after that, then go ahead - but don’t overdo it. It’s also okay to keep walking on a daily basis for a few weeks as your body is still recovering.
Putting it all together
Once you find yourself confident in your body strength (and you've found a good babysitter), it’s time to get back into the gym. You’ll probably notice yourself a little weaker than you were the last time you lifted weights, but that is okay. Set manageable goals and keep track of your progress to help you stay motivated. In no time at all, you’ll be back to your old self.
A final note
While you might feel guilty about spending time away from your baby to exercise, this can actually create a good routine that makes sure you are able to have some free time in your life as your young one grows. This will allow you to take a quick break from parenting while your partner, family and friends get a chance to spend some time with your child. What's more, you'll find the boost of energy that regular exercise brings comes in handy for all the baby chores that are now part of your life.
Need help rediscovering your pre-baby body? Let our trainers create a fitness plan that will allow you to drop the baby fat in no time at all.