Ten Tips for Postpartum Fitness: Part One

Ten tips for postpartum fitnessMany women are eager to start exercising and losing weight after they have a baby. Here are 10 simple, super helpful and practical tips to get you started:

1. Be sure your body is ready!

This is SO important! Pregnancy and childbirth have a significant impact on your body, including ligaments and joints. Increased hormone levels effect both joints and ligaments; they are “looser” and more prone to injury during the recovery phase.  Therefore first and foremost allow your body to heal before starting any high-impact activities. Generally it is recommended waiting at least 6 weeks before starting any exercise program. Check in with your healthcare provider and listen closely to your body to make sure you are ready to start a fitness program.

2. Check for Diastasis Recti

While this is part of “be sure your body is ready”, it is worthy of separate mention. What is Diastasis Recti? “Diastasis recti is defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves (Wikipedia, 2015).  This muscle separation is quite common, especially for women who have had multiple pregnancies. It’s important to know if you have diastasis recti because it will impact what type of exercises you should do. Most US healthcare providers will check for diastasis recti during a postpartum visit. It is also very simple to check yourself.  If you have Diastasis Recti, don’t panic! Instead educate yourself on ways to strengthen and repair your transverse abdominal muscles.  There are even fitness programs developed specifically for correcting Diastasis Recti. MUTUSystem is one example of an evidence based, comprehensive program.

3. Create a Goal

Once you are “ready” to start a fitness program the first step is to develop a goal for yourself!  Having a clearly defined goal will help you stay motivated and focused. So take a minute or two to think of your goal. Perhaps even write it down so you can revisit it often. Your goal can be something qualitative (ie – lose 10lbs, fit into my pre pregnancy clothes, run a 5k, etc) or quantitative (feel happy about my post partum body, develop an increase in energy level, etc).  Your goal will be unique to you and reflected in the choices you make for a fitness program.

4. Communicate with your significant other (if applicable)

Having the support of your significant other definitely helps in reaching a goal; therefore communicating your intentions with him/her is important. After all they may be the person who cares for your little one(s) while you exercise. Or perhaps you need to plan a gym membership or exercise equipment into your family’s budget.  While being dedicated to a fitness program is ultimately beneficial to your overall wellbeing, there is likely to be an impact on your family. Communicating with your significant other can help keep this impact positive and let them know how to best encourage/support you.

4. Pick activities you enjoy

If going to the gym and using a treadmill is boring to you, then DON’T DO IT! If going to the gym, putting on your favorite tunes, and pounding out a half hour on the treadmill is fun for you, then DO IT! Find activities YOU enjoy (everybody is different!) and stick with those. Your motivation to exercise is directly related to how enjoyable it is for you. Explore available options and be creative; you might even develop a fun, new hobby out of your desire to be more active.

5. Get organized

As a mom of a newborn (and perhaps several other little ones) time is precious! Developing an organized approach to fitness will help you to maximize your time to be optimally efficient and effective. Organization will vary per individual.  It might mean dedicating a small space in your home for exercising. Or perhaps it entails carving out a schedule that allows you to fit exercise into your day/week. It could include purchasing some comfortable workout clothes (And make sure they are cute too! It’s helpful if you like your workout attire). Whatever you need to do to help yourself feel organized, go for it! If your approach to fitness is disorganized, you are likely to feel stressed by it. You might value fitness but will be unsure how to fit it into your day/life thus creating tension. Being organized can help ensure an exercise regimen is an enjoyable part of your life.

Be sure stay tuned for the next 5 Tips in Part Two of Ten Tips for Postpartum Fitness! In the meantime happy, healthy vibes to all!

Sarah Johnson is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer. 

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.