The first few weeks after giving birth presents a host of challenges for new mums, as they try to regain their former level of activity before pregnancy. Moreover, there’s also the struggle to shed the baby weight as quickly as possible. A new study reveals that 8 in 10 women feel pressure to lose weight right after giving birth, and this is why some mums can’t wait to lace up their running shoes just one week after having a baby!
Though running is a good workout before and during pregnancy, going running after giving birth is a different matter. You’ll need some time, as well as adequate preparation to aid recovery and to ensure your overall wellbeing. Here are the best exercises for new mums before getting back into running.
*Note, this is a guest blog, reflecting the opinions and experiences of the author. Returning to running is different for every women; speak to your doctor for advice*
Regain flexibility with stretching exercises
After giving birth, most women will experience various aches and pains, including sore muscles and stiffness. To relieve muscle pain, you can have a postnatal massage at a spa, or you can do it yourself at home with a vibrating foam massager. Doing a self massage everyday can reduce body pain and stiffness, and it can also promote better sleep and reduce swelling. Apart from massage, try doing stretching exercises to regain flexibility, improve body alignment and prepare your body before you start running again. Do simple stretches such as calf raises, chest and shoulder stretches, and seated spinal twists every day. After six months, you can do more complicated stretching exercises or take up postnatal yoga to restore and heal your body.
Walk it out
Like the saying goes, you gotta walk before you can run. One week after giving birth, ease into exercise by going for a short walk around your neighbourhood, or head to the nearest park for a quick lap around it. Do the same routine for another week before going for a longer walk so that your body can adjust to the change in intensity or activity level. If the weather is nice, try taking your pram out so you and your baby can get some sun and fresh air while you get some exercise. Being outdoors can help you in your recovery, especially if you’re feeling lack of physical strength, or if you’re experiencing moodiness or postpartum depression.
Wait until the fifth month to kick it up a notch
The ideal time to start a regular or more rigorous exercise routine is different for every woman who has just given birth. However, many mums wait until the fifth month to do high-impact aerobics or go running, as this is the time when they’re mostly free from any postpartum pain. Keep in mind that your body, as well as your shoe size, may have undergone some changes during and after pregnancy. You may need to have a new pair of running shoes and gear before doing a few laps around your block.
The first few weeks after giving birth is a time for your body to heal. Ease into running gradually and don’t feel pressured to lose weight. Keep in mind that with enough time, exercise, rest, and a healthy diet, your body will bounce back so you can enjoy running again. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for advice on when to start a regular exercise routine, and enjoy these first precious weeks with your little one.