Pregnancy and childbirth put an enormous strain on your body. Housing another human being for nine months stretches, strains, pulls and swells your body in ways you never thought possible and that you never read about in your pregnancy books! Exercise is key to returning to that pre-pregnancy body.
Below are some tips to get you on the right track. Remember to get permission from your doctor at your postnatal checkup before starting a new exercise routine. Research has shown that women who jump start their fitness routine within a few months of childbirth are more successful at losing pregnancy weight than women who wait more than six months to start a fitness routine. That means get started now!
1. Walking-Walking is simple, cheap and effective. You can start walking a short distance shortly after having the baby, only do what feels comfortable to you. The great thing about walking is you choose the distance and speed. The more walking you do the more strength and cardiovascular strength you will build. Put the baby in the stroller, grab your husband and the dog and take a walk!
2. Kegel Exercises- These exercises won't make you lose weight but they are essential. Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. During pregnancy and childbirth the pelvic floor can become stretched and weakened causing urine control problems. I know after having two children as soon as I started doing jumping jacks or another high impact exercise I needed to run to the bathroom! I have added Kegel exercises to my daily routine and can now jump without taking a bathroom break!
3. Exercise alongside your baby- If you have your little one by your side it's hard to make an excuse to not workout. Put your little one in the stroller and jog around the neighborhood, join an exercise group like Stroller Strides of Fredericksburg where you exercise alongside your baby or put on a yoga DVD and workout while your baby lays next to you on your yoga mat.
4. Cardio-Try to schedule cardio into your schedule 3-4 times a week. Start off slow with walking and work your way up to farther distances or faster speeds. If you are time crunched try some cardio intervals. For example, jumping jacks, jump squats, mountain climbers and Burpees.
5. Abdominal Exercises-Target those abdominals with some ab exercises. These exercises will strengthen your core. A few to start with are plank, crunches and windshield wipers.
Being active does not only help you get in shape but will also make you feel better. Women who exercise and are more active after childbirth have a reduced chance of developing postpartum depression. Grab that baby and get moving, remember only do what your body is comfortable with. Developing a workout schedule for the week will allow you to become more successful. Good luck!