Postnatal Fitness Benefits and Tips
You recently had a baby and you’re slowly adjusting to a new routine. You’ve done your best to recover and now you’re ready to start exercising or get back to your previous workout routine to rebuild muscle, tone and rid yourself of some baby weight.
Is your body ready? Is it safe? In principle, if you had a complication-free delivery, naturally or by caesarean; you no longer have stitches or aches and pains; and you have the OK from your doctor, you can start gentle exercises fairly soon. How soon will really depend on your personal recovery, how you feel, and on how physically active and fit you were during your pregnancy.
Why workout sooner than later? Exercise will help in your overall recovery and will benefit both you and your baby who will need you to lift, carry, catch, and eventually chase him or her around.
Staying active will:
- Lift your mood to help you keep your chin up when baby tests your patience.
- Improve your emotional health. Joining mommy and baby classes will also help you meet other moms, make friends and get you out of the house
- Boost your energy and stamina so you can keep up with your active baby.
- Develop your strength and rebuild a strong core, reducing and preventing back and shoulder aches and pains.
- Help you lose the baby weight.
What activities are good? Gentle exercises for your pelvic floor, abdominals and back are a great start for everyone. Gentle stretches will help you loosen up muscles that may have become tight and stiff. If you were already active during your pregnancy, keep in mind you will have to ease yourself back into your routine. Start any activity slowly, and choose lower intensity options and modifications and smaller range of motion. Give yourself time to get back to your previous fitness level. You will get there with patience and perseverance.
Speak to your doctor and let your fitness instructor/personal trainer know that you are just getting started post-pregnancy so they can offer you safe options as you rebuild your strength.
Where to start?
- Postnatal Yoga
- Postnatal Pilates
- Mommy and baby fitness classes
- Gentle core training (abs and back)
- Modified body resistance strength training
Whether you're a new mom or mother of four, the sooner you get active, the sooner you will start to feel all the emotional and physical benefits. Remember to always listen to your body and err on the side of caution. If you are unsure if you are ready or concerned about safety or when, seek out the assistance of professionals; they will be happy to help you within their area of expertise.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with more than 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.