The importance of post-natal exercise and what you can do to get started
You’ve given birth to a baby, you’re feeling tired and probably can’t remember the last time you finished off a mug of hot tea. Exercise may not be on the top of your list of priorities but exercise has many benefits. Did you know exercise can leave you feeling more energised and may help prevent postnatal depression? In this post we explore why post-natal exercise is important and what you can do to get started.
A woman’s body goes through an amazing transformation during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, such as the separation of the abdominal muscles to make way for the enlarged uterus and expanding belly, your pelvic floor muscles will loosen owing to hormonal changes in the female body which also relaxes the joints and ligaments in preparation for labour. With this said, don’t fret! With regular exercise and a good diet your body can spring back to its prenatal shape.
What are the benefits of exercise after having a baby?
Postnatal exercise can benefit you in the following ways:
1) Strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles
2) Help in losing some of the weight gained during pregnancy, especially if combined with a balanced and healthy diet
3) Help with reducing or eliminating aches and pains
4) Release of endorphins that trigger positive feelings in the body which can help towards warding off postnatal depression and relieving stress
5) It can promote better sleep
6) Boost your energy
7) Can provide you with some YOU time or if exercising with baby, is a great bonding experience
8) Improve your stamina and cardiovascular fitness
How soon after giving birth can I start exercising?
You can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. This can include walking, stretching, pelvic floor and abdominal exercises. Generally, most women wait until after their 6-week postnatal check with the GP before starting high impact exercises such as running. For more information about this please refer to the NHS website.
What kinds of exercise can I do?
Walking is a great way to ease you into exercise after having a baby, you can do this before your 6-week check. Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles is also highly recommended, as well as, Yoga or Pilates to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Always listen to your body and do what you can. When you feel completely healed you can start doing high impact and weight bearing exercises. For more information on this you can click here.
How can I get started?
You can choose to get started by doing some short and effective workouts at home, either by following a workout video or seeking advice from a fitness trainer, GP or Health Visitor. Alternatively, you may choose to exercise in a gym where you can make use of induction programmes or consultations before you get started. For example, at Stack House we offer all new joiners a free Start Up Induction Programme consisting of 4 consultations with a qualified Personal Trainer, who will ensure you are ready to embark on your fitness journey. You can also benefit from Stack House’s free 8-week transformation programme or Health and Fitness MOT which include body fat percentage measurements and goal setting. For more information on what Stack House has to offer please contact us.
Better still…Stack House is hosting an open day for all mothers to use our facilities free of charge on Mother’s Day, Sunday 22nd March. What a better way to get started!! To register your interest, click here.