For many new moms, one of the things we are most excited about is keeping an active lifestyle after having a baby. However, it can sometimes be challenging trying to get back into the swing of things, and establishing that routine of daily exercise can feel very overwhelming after a long, sleepless night with your little one. Don’t stress- there are plenty of ways to maintain an active lifestyle after a baby!
Before jumping into any complex exercise, you will want to wait until you’ve had your 6-week postnatal checkup. In the weeks leading up to that checkup, if you’re feeling up to it, you can take a walk around the block and do some kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead for exercise, start with something simple. You may want to jump right back into the swing of things, but remember that your body has recently endured quite a bit and it’s ok to ease back into your regular routine!
Take some time to sit down and set some goals for yourself- write out what steps need to be taken to achieve your goals and put it somewhere where you will see it often, such as your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator door.
Have the Right Equipment
Before jumping in, make sure you have everything you need to make your workouts a success. Get some workout clothes for your postpartum exercises, and make sure you have shoes that are comfortable and have good support. If you’re planning on doing some of your exercises at home, perhaps during naptime or later in the evenings, you might consider investing in some weights, bands, and mats to make it a better experience. Do some research to see which workout videos are available on YouTube to help guide you, or ask some friends if they have any exercise DVDs you might be able to borrow.
Daily Walk or Run
The key is consistency. If you start small and work your way up to something more challenging, it can certainly be achieved if you are staying consistent. Make it a point to get out of the house every day for a run or brisk walk. Weather permitting, put your little one in their stroller and bring them along for the ride. Helping your baby get some fresh air is always a good idea, so strap them in, find a good podcast or playlist, and take a jog around the block! Remember to acknowledge your limits and start from the bottom. If you were able to run 10 miles before having your baby, it’s ok to have to work your way back up to that. Give yourself some grace!
Not only is yoga a great exercise post-baby, but there are classes and specific poses dedicated to postnatal exercise. They’re geared toward helping new mothers regain their core strength and tone muscles after giving birth. Whether you’re looking to get a quick 20-minute session in at home or you’re wanting to find a postnatal yoga class in your area that you can attend on a regular basis, this is a wonderful way to gently push your body in the direction you want it to go, and a great step back into an active lifestyle after having a baby.
Many expectant mothers found refuge in water exercises while pregnant, as the sensation of floating and added weight being made light has helped many to endure their months of pregnancy. However, water exercise isn’t just for when you’re pregnant! Water exercises are a great way to work your heart and lungs without putting the pressure on your joints that comes with traditional exercise. With options ranging from water aerobics to simply swimming laps, there are plenty of options to take advantage of when it comes to water workouts. This is a simple tool that still provides an extremely effective daily workout.
Go On a Hike
Want to get outside and find some new scenery? Going on a hike is a fantastic way to get your heart rate up and your body moving. Ask a family member or friend to watch your baby, or bring them along for the adventure! Get your little one settled in a baby carrier as you explore a nearby trail. Do some research to find which hikes are available near you. You will want to take into account your comfort when it comes to difficulty level, as well as your baby’s schedule.
If their naptime or feeding schedule intervenes, you might want to choose a short hike with a nearby parking lot to accommodate their needs. Be sure to stock up your diaper bag with everything you’ll need for an outing with your baby!
Exercise with Your Baby
Many new mothers have found success in incorporating their baby into their exercise routine. Mommy and Me workouts have progressively become more and more popular and are a fantastic way to bond with your baby while working up a sweat and getting your heart pumping. Think about it- your little one serves as a great weight to help take your lunges and squats to the next level and adds a layer of challenge to a basic workout routine.
Keep in mind that small choices can make a major difference. Waking up just 15 minutes earlier than usual for a quick morning workout is a great way to start your day, both physically and mentally. When presented with the option between an elevator and stairs, make the choice to work your way up the steps and get your heart rate up. If you have energy at the end of the day and your partner is home, take a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood and get your body moving. Small decisions will quickly build up and prove to make a significant impact on helping you to achieve your goals!