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Getting in Shape after Baby

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  • Getting in Shape after Baby 1 of 11

    Getting in Shape after Baby - 10 postpartum exercise tips for new moms

    The first few months after giving birth, often referred to as the fourth trimester, are a blur. Diapers, feedings, hormonal changes, and tears have become your new normal, and exercise is the last thing on your new mom-brain. So it's no surprise that it can be a huge challenge to navigate when and how to get back to working out. But with all of the chaos, this may actually be the best time to start exercising. Not only will it help you lose the baby weight, it might also save your sanity. Here's a list of 10 tips to help you begin an exercise program and get back in shape.
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    1: Take your time

    Take your time Most doctors recommend getting back to exercise around 4-6 weeks postpartum, but some women may feel ready sooner. If you’ve had a C-section, you may need to wait even longer. Although you may be anxious to get back to working out, your body will thank you for waiting until you truly feel ready (I personally waited two months until my episiotomy and milk-filled breasts felt less sore). Starting an exercise program too quickly may add unnecessary stress to your body and make healing take even longer.

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    2: Listen to your body

    Listen to your body If you exercised during your pregnancy, you may find that getting back in shape will come a little bit easier. But if you didn’t workout due to exhaustion, morning sickness, or just the old, “I’m pregnant and I’ll do what I want” mentality, you might find that you can’t do very much early on. (Though I wasn’t able to exercise through most of my pregnancy, I was shocked the first time I jumped back on the treadmill to find I could only last about 5 minutes.) Take it slow and listen to what your body is telling you. Your strength will come back by being persistent and sticking to a plan, not by being overzealous and burning yourself out.

  • Getting in Shape after Baby 4 of 11
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    4: Exercise your core

    Exercise your core The core is the area of your midsection that includes abdominals, obliques and lower back. It’s important to work this area postpartum, especially your lower back, which may have been strained during pregnancy and definitely gets strained by carrying a baby around post birth. Tightening up your abs again will also likely be a goal you have postpartum, and it will help your belly to return to its normal size sooner rather than later. A good move to try is the superwoman. Lie belly-down with your arms stretched over your head. Reaching through your fingertips, lift your chest and thighs off the ground and then release. Try two sets of 15 daily.

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    5: Try yoga

    Try yoga There are countless benefits of doing yoga after having a baby; not only has it been shown to make you more focused, it actually may elevate mood more than other forms of exercise. The strength and stretching benefits are also crucial during the postpartum period. One move in particular, the pigeon pose, is great because it stretches the I.T. band which runs down the side of your leg and is a common discomfort during pregnancy and even after. If you aren’t ready to be away from baby yet, try a baby yoga class — it’s a more relaxed approach and a great way to meet other moms.

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    6: Don’t worry about what celebs are doing

    Don’t worry about what celebs are doing It isn’t generally healthy for anyone to drop a lot of weight quickly much less postpartum women. Even if you aren’t nursing, you’ll need calories from food for the energy to take care of your new baby. If you are nursing, you’ll need those calories to make milk. No one expects you to be thin immediately, and few would encourage you to worry about it early on. Most celebs have full-time nannies, baby nurses, and housekeepers working around the clock so that they have the time and energy to workout. So don’t be ashamed of your body every time you open a magazine or turn on the TV.

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    7: Exercise with baby

    Exercise with baby In the first few months postpartum, time for exercise is hard to come by. In fact, finding time to go to the bathroom is hard to come by. Until she could sit on her own, I was barely able to put my daughter down without her getting hysterical. But you shouldn’t have to wait that long to get back in shape. Invest in a baby carrier for walking or hiking, or a jogging stroller if running is more your speed. Better yet, give some of these “mom and baby” moves a try, so that baby can actually help you lose the weight.

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    8: Meditate

    Meditate Taking a few minutes after a workout to meditate is a good way to clear your mind and thank your body for getting you through your routine. It’s also a time to reflect and feel proud of the positive thing you just did for yourself, your body, and your family. It doesn’t have to be long, but for a few minutes, come to a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, and just be. Meditation may make you feel less stressed and more present throughout the rest of your day.

  • Getting in Shape after Baby 10 of 11

    9: Strength train

    Strength train The more muscle, the speedier your metabolism. If you’ve been running mile after mile on the treadmill and you’re wondering why the pounds aren’t coming off as easily as you thought, incorporate some strength moves into your workout. Amp up your routine with some squats, push-ups, and bicep curls before going on that jog to maximize fat burn. You’ll lose more calories by adding a few minutes to your workout and increase your strength so that you can burn even more calories while resting!

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    10: Be flexible

    Be flexible I don’t mean in terms of stretching (although you should do it at the end of each workout). I’m talking about your approach to fitness. You’re on baby’s time now, and that means you may have to workout when you really don’t feel like it. It might mean bringing baby along for a jog or taking her to the gym daycare or even waiting until the evening when she is finally asleep. Either way, if you’re not flexible with the when and where, it may not get done at all. Embrace the changes that motherhood has brought and try something new. Mixing up your workouts will do wonders for your strength, in body and in mind.

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