Congratulations! You made it through months of head-turning body changes...months of nesting...and months of imagining life after your baby arrives. Now you’re on the other side. Taking in all the big changes that this little life has brought....including your new body shape. It’s a far cry from where you were 9 months ago. Don’t worry. You can safely get back to your strong, toned figure.
Why You Should Start Getting Active Again
You may be drained of energy from late-night and early morning feedings. But physical activity is the very thing that will power you up to tackle the day. The same benefits of exercise pre-baby remain true, especially now, after your baby’s arrival.
Any amount of exercise will:
- Help you lose the baby weight faster
- Improve your mental health and mood (helps prevent postpartum depression)
- Keep your mind sharp (because mom-brain is real)
- Boost your energy
- Strengthen your core and muscles (carrying your baby in a car seat is a workout all by itself)
- Improve your quality of sleep (when you can squeeze it in)
When Can You Start
Good news! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you had a healthy pregnancy and vaginal delivery, you can start getting active days after giving birth. If there were complications, or you had a cesarean delivery, this will restrict the type of exercise you can do and when you can start. Talk to your doctor about your plans, and always listen to your body. Pushing past your limit may only cause injuries.
Take It Slow At First
Your body just stretched and shifted organs to perfection, making room for your growing baby. Then with all its might, pushed out an entire human being. Your body needs to heal. Hastily jumping back into your HIIT routine probably isn’t a good idea. Ease back into your normal workout routines, and stop if you feel pain.
Finding Time To Exercise
Finding time for a quick workout is actually easier than you think.
Your newborn sleeps during the day a lot. Eight to nine hours actually. You may have heard the saying “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but who really does that? This is an opportune time to get things done. Including a little “me time” with a yoga mat.
Let Baby Watch
You don’t have to wait until your baby is sleeping. At this point, he’s not crawling or running around anywhere. After nursing, put your baby in their rocker or lounger near you, and work out in front of them. This way you’re able to keep an eye on him, and he’s content with mommy being nearby.
Both Of You Take A Walk
Another quick and easy way to get moving is to take your baby out for a stroll. You can give your muscles a deeper workout by wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier. This way your baby gets to snuggle close to your chest, and you safely increase the intensity of your walk.
Spread Workout Time Throughout The Day
Your schedule may be a bit topsy turvy right now. And between all the feedings, cleaning, laundry, and hopefully, sleeping, setting aside time for exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. Instead of just one chunk of time, spread out exercising throughout the day for 10-minute sessions. Drying dishes? Do some squats. Tummy time? Show baby how it’s done, and do some pushups. You get the idea. Squeeze in physical activity where you can.
Do This For You. It's Not A Race.
Give yourself grace. A lot of grace. Making time for yourself in an already overwhelming time of your life doesn’t need to be stressful. Do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t. If it’s a few minutes here and there of stretching, great! Or if you’re too exhausted to blink, go get some rest. Do this for you and no one else.
Set reasonable goals for yourself to work towards. And be flexible about getting there.