Getting in Shape after Baby 1 of 11
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.
Getting in Shape after Baby 2 of 11
1: Take your time
Most doctors recommend getting back to exercise around 4-6 weeks postpartum, but some women may feel ready sooner. If youve 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.
Getting in Shape after Baby 3 of 11
2: 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 didnt workout due to exhaustion, morning sickness, or just the old, Im pregnant and Ill do what I want mentality, you might find that you cant do very much early on. (Though I wasnt 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
3: Dont forget your Kegels
Thought you were done with Kegel exercises, eh? Well, not just yet. They are actually a very important part of postpartum exercise. Performing Kegels/a> a few times throughout the day will help to speed the healing process after an episiotomy or tearing, heal hemorrhoids (or ward them off all-together), and aid in bladder control. They wont help with the post-baby gut much, but they will help you to feel more comfortable a little faster and therefore, get you back to your workout routine that much sooner.
Getting in Shape after Baby 5 of 11
4: Exercise your core
The core is the area of your midsection that includes abdominals, obliques and lower back. Its 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.
Getting in Shape after Baby 6 of 11
5: 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 arent ready to be away from baby yet, try a baby yoga class — its a more relaxed approach and a great way to meet other moms.
Getting in Shape after Baby 7 of 11
6: Dont worry about what celebs are doing
It isnt generally healthy for anyone to drop a lot of weight quickly much less postpartum women. Even if you arent nursing, youll need calories from food for the energy to take care of your new baby. If you are nursing, youll 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 dont be ashamed of your body every time you open a magazine or turn on the TV.
Getting in Shape after Baby 8 of 11
7: 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 shouldnt 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.
Getting in Shape after Baby 9 of 11
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. Its also a time to reflect and feel proud of the positive thing you just did for yourself, your body, and your family. It doesnt 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
The more muscle, the speedier your metabolism. If youve been running mile after mile on the treadmill and youre wondering why the pounds arent 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. Youll 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!
Getting in Shape after Baby 11 of 11
10: Be flexible
I dont mean in terms of stretching (although you should do it at the end of each workout). Im talking about your approach to fitness. Youre on babys time now, and that means you may have to workout when you really dont 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 youre 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.