Importance of Postnatal Exercise
Postnatal exercise has numerous health benefits, all of which apply equally to the new mother as at any other stage of life. These benefits mentioned below include assistance with weight loss, increased aerobic fitness, social interaction and psychological well being. Exercise after giving birth can also hasten recovery, and assist with muscle strength and toning.
Benefits Of Postnatal Exercises
- Help restore muscle strength and firm up your body
- Make you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of well being
- Enhance the stamina levels, helping you to take charge during motherhood.
- Promote weight loss
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness and restore muscle strength
- Condition your abdominal muscles .
- Heal your once pregnant body by getting rid of aches and pains.
- Improve your mood, relieve stress and help prevent postpartum depression.
- When to start postnatal exercises
Gentle exercise (such as walking) can generally be started as soon as comfortable after giving birth. Start when you feel up to it. Some women will feel able to start exercising early. Talk with your doctor about when is a good time for you to restart an exercise program. Six weeks after giving birth, most of the changes that occur during pregnancy will have returned to normal. If you had a cesarean birth, a difficult birth, or complications, it may take a little longer to feel ready to start exercising. If you did not exercise during pregnancy, start with easy exercises and slowly build up to harder ones. Keep in mind your lower back and core abdominal muscles are weaker than they used to be. Your ligaments and joints are also more supple and pliable, so it is easier to injure yourself by stretching or twisting too much. Avoid any high-impact exercises or sports that require rapid direction changes.
The pelvic floor may be adversely affected by pregnancy and childbirth. Most women are taught pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and these are important to learn correctly and can be resumed immediately after giving birth.
Creating time for postnatal exercise
When you’re caring for a newborn, finding time for physical activity can be challenging. Some days you may simply feel too tired for a full workout. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired, go easy on yourself. Try not to push yourself until you feel ready.
- Invest in a good support bra. Your breasts are going to be larger than normal and hence will need some extra support.
- Be careful of high-impact sports due to lax pelvic ligaments and joints left over from pregnancy.
- This is why core (abdominal work is key after pregnancy preventing lower back and joint injuries).
- Make sure you drink lots of water to replenish yourself, especially when breastfeeding.
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired, go easy on yourself. Try not to push yourself until you feel ready.
- It’s also important to not just lose weight but to rebuild your bone and muscle density. The more bone and muscle you carry, the more compact you look. And the less bone and muscle you carry, the flabbier you look.
- I recommend Pilates for core conditioning and weight training and cardio for weight loss. Try to fit 2-3 times a week of cardio activity (walking, running) for 30-45 minutes and general body conditioning at least 3 times a week.
Enjoy this amazing time with your baby. You have created the miracle of life. A little extra weight is a small price to pay for a bundle of joy. Be patient and your body will be back to normal in no time.