How to get your body ready for exercise after delivery
The best way to lose weight after childbirth is to eat sensibly and exercise regularly. The most important guideline is to start out slowly. Your body has done a wonderful job of growing your baby and bringing her into the world, so give it a chance to recover.
If you have had a c section, then it may take longer for you to start post-pregnancy workouts as your stitches need to heal. If your pregnancy and delivery were without any complications, you can start with some light exercise in the first few weeks. You can do gentle tummy muscle exercises (not sit-ups), back and pelvic floor exercises as well as deep breathing.
Initially, walking is the best exercise and after consulting your doctor you can begin with it. Once your baby is two or three months old, you can take him on the pram for a stroll. That way, he enjoys the outside and you catch up on your daily dose of the workout.
Apart from walking, yoga is also a very good postnatal exercise option. You can enrol in a yoga class or better yet, nowadays there are specialized postnatal exercise classes which help you lose that extra fat.
Tips for fitness after pregnancy
- Find an activity that you enjoy. Joining an exercise group will keep you fit, and you’ll also meet other new mums. You can also get support from other mums on various sites which have community forums.
- You could use a fitness wearable, an app or fitness tracker to monitor how much walking or exercise you do during the day. This can help to keep you motivated and ensure you’re getting enough exercise.
- Exercises that can be done with your baby are often easier to fit into your routine. Some postnatal exercise or classes are designed for mums and their babies, so you won’t need to worry about childcare. Also, there are ample post-baby workout videos online which you can easily do with your child.
- Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Remember that dieting or removing important food groups from your diet can be counterproductive and you’re more likely to end up tired and listless. Plus, you will be breastfeeding so, depriving yourself of the important ingredients will harm your baby and you too.
- Meditation is also a good choice as it may help with any stress you may have related to your changing body and being a new mum. You may feel more inclined to accept the slow process of weight loss and chances are you’ll stay more committed to losing weight.
- Do not weigh yourself each and every day. Stick to weighing once a week to reduce the stress of slow weight loss.
- Bear in mind that sometimes losing weight may not be easy to do alone. If you feel you need some help, see a nutritionist who can help you fine-tune your diet. A fitness trainer can also help you choose the right exercises.
- Making time – Now, this is the most important aspect. We often conclude that workouts can’t happen as we have no time to spare. It’s true in every sense but, something needs to be worked out. Wake up just 15 minutes earlier every day, to begin with, and immediately start exercising. There! You just got 15 extra minutes for yourself.
- Split the workouts – In continuation to the previous point, you can always split your exercises throughout the day. Research says that a good 30-minute workout each day surely yields results.
I never had that kind of time in one go. So, I split my workouts into two parts. Fifteen minutes in the morning and the rest fifteen in the afternoon as soon as your Bub sleeps. Post that, take a short nap with your child to feel refreshed.
- Watch your plate – Another vital aspect of weight loss. From my experience, I know it’s not at all feasible to prepare ten different meals with an infant at home. So, it’s better to stick with healthy, home cooked meals and yes, do keep a watch on your portion sizes. This will be easy to follow and you won’t go off track too.
- Any form of exercise – I don’t go by a rigid rule-book of workouts. I have always tried different forms of exercise and that has kept changing with time. The most important thing is to move that body. Pick whatever you like and do that. There will be some days when you won’t feel like doing anything. So pick up your baby, turn on some good music and dance with him.
- Stroll with your baby – This benefits both of you. Your baby will get a fresh whiff of air and you get to burn your calories.
- Dress up – This is more of a self-confidence tip. Always dress up well. It doesn’t matter if you are just going down to the store. Get ready for yourself and it will make you feel awesome. There were days when I didn’t even comb my hair. Wear whatever makes you happy, put on makeup if you have the time and patience and go out.
When should you delay exercising?
It’s best to postpone exercising if you experienced back or pelvic pain during your pregnancy, found it difficult to do pelvic floor exercises or you are leaking urine when you exercise, cough, sneeze or laugh.
It’s wise to sort out these problems by speaking with your doctor before returning to exercises such as sit-ups, general exercise classes or vigorous exercise.
Do not overdo it
Your body will tell you if you’re pushing yourself too hard. Overdoing things in the first few weeks may cause the bleeding (lochia) you have after your baby’s birth to turn pink or red and to flow more heavily. This is a signal to slow down. Check with your doctor if vaginal bleeding restarts after you thought it had stopped. You should also allow time for your scar to heal if you have had a cesarean.
Whatever said and done, please do not feel inferior because of your extra weight. It will go with the right diet and exercise. The most important thing about ladies is your happiness. A few extra kilos shouldn’t take that away from you.
For more info and tips on pregnancy, visit www.babychakra.com