Postpartum Fitness: 5 Things You Need To Know
Updated on June 7, 2022 by Team ShineSheets
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Though there is no denying that pregnancy is a magical experience, it can get very demanding for your body. As soon as your new baby arrives, your life immediately becomes a million times more hectic. Having a newborn is physically and emotionally draining and can even put a lot of pressure on your relationship with your body.
This is why whether they want to do it right away or decide to put it on top of their long list of things to do after giving birth, many women find that the process of getting rid of baby weight comes more manageable with an organized routine. This includes both eating well and engaging in a healthy amount of physical activity.
You’ll also be glad to know that there are many effective ways to stay fit after giving birth. It’s all about figuring out what works best for your body and finding a routine that fits into your new life. In this article, you’ll come across five essential things you need to know about postpartum fitness.
1. Postpartum Fitness Has Benefits Beyond Losing Weight
While losing weight is the main benefit of engaging in postpartum fitness, that’s not the only thing you may gain. You can enjoy so many other benefits, such as toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles, relieving stress, boosting your energy, and reducing the likelihood of postpartum depression.
2. It’s Important To Take It Easy
You might already know that it’s essential to be gentle with your body and take it easy after birth, but how ‘easy’ should this be, and what limitations should you follow?
Before anything else, it is best to speak with your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN). Once they give you the green light, you’ll be able to feel more confident starting your postpartum fitness journey. Most moms who have had a normal delivery may generally begin exercising two to three weeks after birth. For those who have had a c-section, you may need to wait at least six weeks.
Don’t go for strenuous exercises just yet. Having at least 30 minutes of cardio exercises every day is a good start. These include walking, running, and indoor and outdoor cycling.
3. It’s Important To Focus On Safe Exercises First
Before engaging in more rigorous exercises, starting with light and easy movements is always a good idea. Apart from the cardio exercises mentioned above, there are others that you may want to do as well. These include:
- Pelvic floor exercises, which refers to targeted strengthening movements that you can start immediately after childbirth;
- Light stretches for as long as you won’t feel any pain while doing it;
- Light walking, since getting out, having some fresh air, or perhaps saying hello to other adults also help in reducing the risk of postpartum depression; and
- Kegel exercises, which are meant to help support your uterus, bladder, and bowel.
4. It Shouldn’t Be Too Complicated To Follow
Postpartum fitness requires being more cautious about the workout routines you follow. Keep in mind that you’re going through sleepless nights and high-stress levels. As such, your best bet for postpartum fitness is to engage in easy yet practical exercises that’ll get your body moving.
Your first goal should be being able to perform cardiovascular exercises. Then, you can move on to other activities that can help strengthen your muscles. Once your body gets used to these movements, that’s when you can gradually move on to moderately intense exercises.
You may want to follow other helpful guidelines such as giving yourself the time to warm up and cool down, stopping exercising if you feel any pain or discomfort, and even wearing a supportive bra.
5. It’s A Must To Pair Exercise With Healthy Eating
No exercise will ever be effective in meeting your postpartum goals if you consistently feed yourself with junk. This is why it’s essential to pair your workout with healthy eating. Especially when you’re nursing, you need to be more mindful about what you’re eating. After all, your baby depends on the nutrients in your body. And indeed, you’ll want to nourish your child with healthy food.
Don’t skip any important meals. When you choose healthier options, you’re able to give yourself the nutrients you need while feeding your baby well, too. Some tips include:
- Choosing to have a wide variety of food choices from across the different food groups;
- Keeping an eye on your calorie intake, especially when you’re breastfeeding, as nursing moms will need an average of 2,300 to 2,500 calories per day; and
- Continuing to take your prenatal vitamins.
Disclaimer: All that said, the most important thing to do is to always consult with your doctor. This article is not meant to be a substitute to sound medical advice. Your body has been through many changes, so it’s always best to stay on the safe side.