A lot has changed over the years. Women are no longer subject to weeks of bedrest after having a baby and even the present rule of waiting to exercise for six weeks after childbirth has its exceptions. If you’ve exercised throughout your pregnancy, you may be able to start even sooner. That doesn’t include women who had complications or a C-section. You may be able to start strength training before the six weeks’ time, but before you start any exercise program, check with your health care professional.
Moderation is the key.
Whether you exercised before you had your baby or not, start slowly. Your body is undergoing some dramatic changes, with muscles and skin being stretched to the limit. Your ligaments and joints are also looser, so there’s more chance of injury. Start with something simple and productive. Walk with your baby in your arms. Lifting the baby also provides great strength training. The baby is the weight of many small weights you’d use in the gym to begin strength training. Even better, as you get stronger, your baby also gets heavier and more challenging to carry.
Core strength and pelvic floor strength are extremely important.
Laying on your back with thighs at a 90 degree angle to the floor, knees bent and parallel or at an almost 90 to 105 degree angle to your thighs. If you want, baby on your tummy, do toe taps while bonding with your bundle of joy. Lower one leg and tap the floor with your toes then raise that leg and lower the other, also tapping. Repeat.
Walking, doing pelvic tilts and some yoga can help strengthen your body.
A pelvic tilt can be done in a number of ways, standing, sitting or lying on the floor. It’s a matter of moving your back so you have it straight, taking the normal curve out of the spin, then returning back to normal position. It’s almost a rocking forward and backward of the hips. Doing simple yoga positions, like child position, cat/cow, mountain pose and goddess pose can build strength without putting too much stress.
- If you were actively doing strength training before the baby was born, don’t expect to start where you left off. You need to go slowly but will find you’ll be back to your previous level quickly.
- When you first start working out, don’t use weights. Focus more on form than on repetitions or how much weight you can lift. Always work to strengthen the pelvic and core areas first.
- In the first six weeks, avoid barbells or weights. Lifting your baby’s body weight will be enough to help build or maintain strength. When you’re ready for more strenuous workouts, consider getting inexpensive resistance bands.
- Focus on posture and avoid high impact workouts. Your abdominal muscles and pelvic muscles have been through a lot and aren’t ready yet. Focus on improving your posture, which changed during pregnancy due to weight shift.
For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness