You’ve had the all clear from the GP, but now what? Maybe you’re considering adding a little exercise back in to your life. But where should you start with your fitness routine? What’s too much? Should you hit your fave gym class or smash out 100 sit ups on the bedroom floor? I’m hoping you don’t do either of these! In this post, I’ve shared some of my quick top tips that’ll help get your beautiful mama body moving again in the best way possible.
This is me 8 weeks postpartum (yes, you read that right, 8 weeks, not 6). My body is softer, my tummy is squidgy, and as much as I feel ready to get back to a little exercise, I also know that my body grew a human being, and it took 39 weeks +5 to do so. So, I’m also following my own advice of “taking it easy” as I’m in no rush for a washboard stomach – and I’m not sure I’ll even be striving for that now anyway? But I’ll leave ‘goals chat’ for another day.
1: TAKE IT SLOW
After birthing your baby I can’t stress how important it is to take it slow. Your body has been through its toughest workout to date, and it needs time to heal before you even consider burpees and push ups. Walks are great. I’ve been loving doing these. Plus it’s a good way to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air – whilst also preventing cabin fever kicking in.
2: STAY WELL TUNED IN
It can be easy to over do it. Bleeding is normal after birth, but should settle down as the weeks go on. If you notice it starts to increase again, don’t ignore it, as you body might just be telling you that you’re doing a little too much, too soon. Our bodies are amazing like that. Stay well tuned in, and don’t ignore any signals it gives you.
3: PELVIC FLOOR IS KING (OR QUEEN)
I know, I know. It’s a bore of an exercise. But possible thee most important exercise for you to do daily. You want to make sure you can feel the release as well as the lift. Use your breathe as you would in the gym, breathing out as you lift lift lift lift lift. Aim to build up to 10 reps x 10 second hold, and vary how you do them – doing them both standing and seated.
4: SEE A WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIO
This isn’t offered as standard here in the UK, but if you don’t get referred, I highly encourage you, if possible, to book an appointment with your local women’s health physio. Where they can assess your pelvic floor strength, check for any scar tissue, and for me, it gave me the reassurance I needed before increasing my activity levels.
5: CORE CORE CORE
Your core will have naturally weakened throughout your pregnancy as your abdominals stretch to allow for your growing bump. As a result of this you may have diastasis recti, otherwise known as abdominal separation, which is why it’s important to rehab these muscles as they really are the centre of everything. But again, please please please avoid the sit ups mama’s, and instead add in simple postpartum pilates moves like the pelvic tilt and heel slide. For a video demo click here.
6: RELAXIN BABY
I’m not talking about chilling on the sofa. This is another type of relaxin’… the hormone ‘relaxin’ which will still be in your body postpartum, causing instability in your joints and pelvis. To prevent injury, you’ll want to avoid any explosive exercises, skipping or running for now, they can come at a later date. Also your pelvic floor won’t thank you if you start boppin’ around too soon!
7: I’M BRINGIN’ SEXY BACK
I couldn’t resist the sub title, sorry not sorry. Your posture will have changed throughout pregnancy, your boobs are now likely bigger, and lifting your gorgeous bundle all day/night may feel like a workout in itself. Add in bending over to change nappies and feed her/him, and you may be experiencing lower back pain. To counteract this, grab a theraband and aim for 3x 15 reps of banded pull aparts – really squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do so.
8: SUP UP
Hydration is key. Not only when exercising, but equally when you’re feeling tired from sleepless nights. It can also help with your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding – so keep a glass of water near by and pack a bottle for yourself when heading out.
9: R&R – REST & RECOVERY
With all that said, please be kind to your body. Allow yourself days when you don’t get dressed. Don’t beat yourself up that the kitchen looks a mess and what feels like the 100th wash of the week needs to go on. Household chores can wait. Your physical and mental health come first. As well as cuddles with your baba, so kick back and put the kettle on!
I hope you’ve found my top tips helpful. Follow me on Instagram for everything health, fitness and motherhood – as I’ll be sharing my full postpartum workouts as I slowly add them back in to my routine!