Postpartum Exercise: Safe Ways to Get Back in Shape After Birth
We know that sometimes, it might be very hard for some mothers to get back on exercising, especially after giving birth. Postpartum exercise plays an important role in the post-pregnancy recovery process.
Postpartum exercise is beneficial for new moms like you in many ways. These include lowering the risk of postnatal depression, improving sleep quality, and most importantly– boosting your confidence.
With postpartum exercise, you can achieve the body you lost while pregnant and get back in shape **quickly!
Benefits of Postpartum Exercise for New Moms
Incorporating postpartum exercise into your daily routine helps in the recovery process of giving birth. These postnatal exercises help improve physical and mental health and give you more confidence in your body as new moms.
Check out some of the top benefits of postpartum exercise:
- Better posture and improved muscle tone
- Reduces excessive weight gain caused by pregnancy
- **Reduces the risk of gestational diabetes
- Reduces the symptoms of postpartum depression
How to Start a Postpartum Exercise Routine
After giving birth, it can be difficult to have the motivation to start a postpartum exercise routine. With these tips and guidance, we believe you’ll be able to get back in shape safely in no time.
Start your workout as soon as you’ve given birth.
You can begin exercising after you give birth if you had a normal vaginal delivery and healthy pregnancy. Ensure that you feel ready. If you had a C-section delivery or any other medical complication, consult your ob-gyn to determine when it’s safe to start.
Break your exercise routine into 30-minute workouts across 5 days.
We suggest that you maintain an active lifestyle after giving birth. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. To keep it lighter, you may split your sessions into five 30-minute workouts spread across the whole week.
Alternatively, you could opt for shorter 10-minute sessions scattered throughout each day; three 10-minute walks per day would add up quickly!
Don’t startle your body with high-intensity exercises!
Start gentle postpartum exercises. Do not startle your body, start small. These simple movements make a big difference as it helps strengthen the main muscle groups, the abdominal and back muscles.
Start with light-intensity and gradually build up to moderate-intensity workouts. If you were active pre-pregnancy or a competitive athlete, you could eventually work up to vigorous exercises.
Stop your workout routine when you feel discomfort.
If you feel any pain and discomfort anywhere in your body, stop your postpartum exercise. We don’t want you to feel even more pain after giving birth. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.
What are the Best Exercises for New Moms?
Moderate-intensity exercises during postpartum have immense benefits for women's health. Research indicates that it helps improve cardiorespiratory fitness and mood.
Don’t worry since it has no effect on your milk production or the composition of your breast milk.
You may also combine your postnatal exercise with caloric restrictions for more visible weight loss results. We recommend regular physical activity to maintain good overall health following childbirth.
Here are some of the postpartum exercises that you can incorporate into your routine:
Walking is a gentle way to enter the fitness world again after having a child. An easy stroll is a perfect way to start a fitness journey. As you progress and build strength, you can work up to a more vigorous walk!
Even though it might sound easy, walking provides ample exercise and can do wonders for your mind and body, especially when you're just starting! Wearing a front pack with a baby in it will add extra weight and enhance the benefits further.
You can spice things up by walking backward or taking a zigzag path to keep your muscles guessing. Ensure you’ve mastered this activity and are confident of your stability before allowing babies to participate.
Riding a bike is an excellent cardiovascular exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature. You can also bond with your family and friends through this exercise! You can also invite other postpartum moms to go biking with you.
Biking is good for postnatal moms like you because it makes you fit, active, and connected with the people you love. So, if you want to have fun while getting enough exercise, consider this.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
Postpartum recovery can be greatly aided by swimming and water aerobics, both of which are low-impact activities that are good for regaining lost strength and energy.
They’re also enjoyable exercises with your baby and afford a great bonding opportunity.
Swimming and water aerobics help you build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, and increase flexibility while having fun with your friends, family, and baby! It's definitely a great mother-and-baby bonding experience that you should try.
Yoga doesn’t require a lot of intensity. Here are some yoga exercises that you can incorporate into your postpartum exercise routine:
- Basic Breath
Breathing is actually a good exercise that’s relatively easy, which is referred to as deep diaphragmatic breathing. You can do this anytime and anywhere while sitting, standing, or lying down!
To do this, keep your spine in a neutral position. Then, place one hand above your belly button. Next, take a deep breath through your nose, pushing your stomach. Hold it for a few seconds. And then exhale through your mouth slowly. Repeat this 5-10 times.
You may also perform kegel exercises in which you inhale deeply and exhale while engaging your pelvic floor muscles, pulling the abdomen in, and closing the rib cage.
Hold each contraction for five seconds and gradually build up to 5 to 10 breaths with abdominal contractions done several times daily. Take your time and breathe at your own pace. This exercise can help with relaxation and improve your core stability.
- Heel Slides
Lie on the floor and bend your knees with your arms at your sides. Then, bring one leg out while breathing in until the leg is fully stretched with your heel up. Exhale while bringing it back to its original position. Switch sides, stretch the other leg out, and then back in to finish a single rep.
Keep your back in a neutral position throughout the exercise. Try to do 20 heel slides for each leg.
- Leg Extensions
Be in the same starting position with the heel slides exercise. Take a deep breath, and exhale while raising one leg to a tabletop position where the knee is the same level as the hip, and the shin must parallel the floor. Keep your abs engaged throughout the exercise.
As you inhale once more, slowly extend the lifted leg out towards the floor without arching your back. Then as you exhale, guide your leg back to the tabletop position and place your foot back down.
Continue by shifting your weight onto one side and gradually lift your leg two to three inches from the floor without touching it. Start with 5 repetitions per side and build up to 20 hovering reps.
- Advanced Leg Extensions
This is quite the same as leg extensions, but you will be lifting your legs higher. Be mindful of any arching in your back, since it indicates that you need to return to previous exercises to build up your strength.
Start with 10 repetitions on each leg and gradually increase to 20 reps once you feel comfortable and have no back arching.
- Double Leg Lowers
In the leg extensions exercise, you only lift one leg at a time. But, with the double leg lowers exercise, you will now be raising both your legs at the same time.
Inhale deeply and slowly lower your legs to a comfortable position without any movement in your lower back. As you exhale, contract your abs and lift your legs back up. Repeat this movement 20 times.
Exercises That Are Not Allowed For New Moms
Since you have just given birth, please refrain from high-intensity exercises. You should also abstain from any contact or collision sports and activities that pose a risk of falling or abdominal trauma, such as soccer, basketball, horseback riding, or downhill skiing.
How to Create A Customized Postpartum Exercise Plan
Sometimes, we lose hope that we may not be able to bring back our old shape after giving birth. This is actually possible with a customized postpartum exercise plan.
You may combine any exercises above or make your own tailor-fit postpartum exercise plan. You may include a mix of low and moderate-intensity activities.
Write your postpartum exercise routine on paper, or record it on your phone. Note your exercise schedule so you won’t forget about it.
Start Your Postpartum Exercise Today, But Be Cautious!
Take note that every pregnancy is unique in its own way, so there may be exercises that are not suitable for you. Also, if you’re experiencing headaches, blood loss, or any other unusual sensations during or after exercising, please stop what you’re doing.
Health and safety is our priority. We only want what’s best for you, so be cautious and consult your doctor when necessary.