First of all, congratulations! You’ve brought a brand new human into the world, so give yourself time to adjust and enjoy. When it comes to exercise, then as long as you’ve had a straightforward birth it’s absolutely the right thing to get moving after a few days.
The following discusses some of the best post-natal exercises to start the journey back to full fitness.
Post-Natal Exercise: The dos and don’ts
Firstly, and very importantly, it’s vital to understand that pregnancy and birth have put certain strains on your body. No matter how fit you were prior, it’s going to take some time to get back to your pre-pregnant stage. For those who underwent a C-section or difficult birth then it’s crucial to take advice from your GP or medical professional before beginning a fitness plan.
For a normal pregnancy and delivery, then as soon as you feel ready it’s time to get started.
- Do: begin with gentle walking, upping your pace and distance over a matter of days and weeks. Listen to your body – If it feels right to extend frequency, length and speed, then go for it. Conversely, don’t push yourself too soon, especially in the first 8 weeks after giving birth.
- Do: Accept that it’s going to take time for your hormones to settle. Your body is a fantastic piece of machinery. It’s spent 9 months altering the hormonal balance to grow a healthy baby and prepare you for the birth and post-birth period. Your hormones don’t simply switch back to pre-pregnancy mode. This will take at least 6-8 weeks to regulate – more if you’re breastfeeding. This might cause excessive fatigue, poor sleep and weight gain. It’s completely normal, so don’t think you need to be busting out the HIIT workouts or running a marathon. In fact, far from it, the key to a good fitness plan for new mums is low impact effort such as walking or yoga, and a variety of bodyweight strength training to target the abdominals and core muscles.
- Do: take expert advice from a qualified trainer/gym before embarking on any post-natal exercise regime.
- Don’t: underestimate rest and recovery. While you’re probably keen to return to your pre-pregnancy physique, remember that your body needs at least 6 weeks to recover.
- Don’t: Feel pressurised into any exercise you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s completely normal to take some weeks to come to terms with your body changes. Right now it’s not about smashing goals, it’s about working out the right exercise for you as you adjust to being a new mum.
- Don’t: compare yourself with celebrity mums who seem to bounce back to the body beautiful within a couple of weeks. Remember, those Insta snaps and tweets are likely photo-shopped and airbrushed to perfection before posting. Real life is a far cry from the social media persona…
5 of the Best Exercises for New Mums
The key is to regain control over your abs and pelvic floor, as well as working on other large muscle groups. The already mentioned walking and yoga is a great place to start. Some specific exercises you might want to concentrate on are as follows:
- Bridge: This is a great exercise for lower body strength, core conditioning, pelvic floor and helping realign and strengthen the ligaments that’ve been stretched throughout pregnancy and birth. It can also help prevent lower back pain.
- Modified side plank: Carried out with your knees bent, on the floor and feet slightly behind you, this exercise targets the deep abs, lower back and side abdominals. Work up to holding the plank for 30-60 seconds on each side.
- Plie squat: As you regain strength, gentle bodyweight plie squats will target the butt and quads. You can add calf raises as you become stronger, working up to 2 to 3 sets of 10 or 15 reps.
- Bird dog: Kneel on the floor with bands beneath your shoulders. Extend right arm and left leg and hold for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side. This targets the lower back, butt, and core abdominals. Start with a couple of reps on each side, working gradually up to 3 sets of 10-15 reps over several weeks.
- Tricep dips: Don’t forget the upper body. Tricep dips are an excellent way to target this troublesome area (and you’ll also be working your core as it needs to be braced to carry these out correctly). Work up to 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Partner with Bailey Fitness for Expert Post-Natal Fitness Advice
Perth-based gyms, Bailey Fitness, has staff specifically trained in both pre-and post-natal exercise. Whether you feel like returning to the gym or undertaking home workouts, taking qualified advice will ensure you carry out the right workouts for this crucial stage of your life.
Visit Bailey Fitness or pop into one of their three gym locations to find out more.
This sponsored post was brought to you by Adam Bailey
Bailey Fitness was created by Adam Bailey, a Muay Thai expert and WKN Australia Champion from Perth. Together with his wife Richelle. Bailey Fitness recognises the importance of providing excellent service to all people – They look after their members and staff as though they are family, and they invest in the local community in which they operate. Bailey Fitness gyms are located in in Southern River, Morley and Baldivis. Connect via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.