Knowing when to return to fitness after having a baby can be a tricky decision – and it is very much based on the individual.
Each person reacts differently to the physical trauma of pregnancy and birth, as well as the exhaustion and hormones of having a newborn. So it’s important to ease yourself back in and not feel pressured to jump back in too early.
But with gyms reopening this week, new mums might be feeling pressure to get back into a fitness schedule, however it’s more important to listen to your body and understand what’s right for you.
Qualified postnatal fitness expert Wendy Powell of MUTU System, has pulled together her top tips for new mums getting back into fitness – and all the things you need to consider.
When should you get back to fitness after having a baby?
C section or complicated vaginal delivery
At the very least, wait 10 weeks before embarking on any form of exercise.
Start with just slow, low impact core and pelvic floor work.
Normal vaginal birth – no complications
Medical advice is six weeks, but our advice is to ensure that you feel stable enough and if you do, start with very low impact core and pelvic floor work before anything else.
We aren’t saying you can’t go for a run again, we’re just saying build the foundations first before you go for a 10k run.
Check out our running guidelines here, if you are a runner.
Avoid high impact exercise until you’ve focused on core and pelvic floor strength
Your body will thank you in the long run.
See a women’s health PT or physiotherapist
This isn’t accessible to all women, although we believe it should be, but a women’s health PT will be able to assess you in-person, and determine when you can return to the exercise and do the sport you love again.
Always seek approval from your doctor, but listen to your body as well
You may have gotten the all clear, but listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, back up and focus on core work, or ask for a referral to a physio or PT.
Here are Wendy’s top tips for when you do feel ready to return to exercise:
Don’t be made to feel guilty
Spending time with your newborn is precious. However, it is all too easy to forget that you need time for yourself as well.
When it comes to getting back into an exercise routine, it is OK to make time for yourself and let someone else hold your baby for just a little while.
It is easy to forget that we are still human despite having a little person to look after.
It is important to remember that you still matter and having that time for yourself still gives you that time to enjoy having your baby – especially before you have a crawler, and then a walker, that gets into everything.
Ask your partner for help
Always remember that you are not in this alone. There will always be someone to provide you with support and none are better than your partner.
Talk to them and explain that it is important for you to take this time for yourself and exercise and let your partner bond with the baby.
It will be the best of both worlds.
Change your habits
Make things easier for yourself by changing things up a bit.
Start by setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier to get up and get your body moving.
Doing a workout from home will cut down travel time to the gym and allow you to spend as much quality time with your baby as possible.
You could also find a quiet space in the office during lunch to do some core work.
Another good thing to do is to log off social media for a week. It’s amazing how long we spend aimlessly scrolling when minutes are so precious in our lives. You will be surprised how much more time you will find for yourself when you turn off the ‘Gram.
In the evening or on weekends you could even cut down on TV time to work on “Project You” – you will be surprised how small changes to your routine can make a big difference.
Give yourself grace
Being a mum is tough. Your life has changed forever, and on this journey you will realise that not every day and every moment will go as planned.
One day you may get that chance to do a killer workout and others you may be met with chaos, baby poo and forgetting to feed yourself.
Just remember that it is OK to give yourself grace and a fresh start for tomorrow.
Missing one day is not the end of the world, just pick yourself back up and start over fresh,
Get your kids involved
Don’t use your little ones as an excuse to stop you from working out, but instead have them join you.
The MUTU system is perfect for all the family to get involved and can prove to be a great time to bond with one another.
Whether you have toddlers or a tiny baby, you can incorporate them in many ways.
Do you have fitness tips to share? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch: [email protected]
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