“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Starting an exercise program after childbirth can be hard. Adjusting to a new baby is hard enough work! Our sleep patterns change, our diets adapt, we are nourishing and caring for a baby that is dependent on us for survival. Never mind the normal barriers to exercise - changing our routine or schedule and finding time! Here are my 3 strategies to getting back to exercise after baby (or maybe starting for the first time):
- Do what YOU love
Do you love to run? Go on walks? Power lift? CrossFit? Yoga? Pilates? Horseback riding? My number one recommendation is to choose whatever movement YOU love. If you love going to the gym and working out, do it. If you love going outside and running, do it! Just because Mama Susie Q down the street is doing a specific exercise routine, doesn't mean you "should" too. If you pick an exercise that you don't enjoy doing, it is going to be hard to stay motivated to do that exercise. Move for fun!
- Slow is Fast
So maybe you were an avid runner and could run 5 miles everyday or front squat 175lbs or maybe you just went on long walks. Whatever movement you loved to do, I hope you continue doing it, but it's important to build back up to where you were. Take your time, don't rush it and let the body heal from the inside out. It's not only OK, but it is great to swap out intense exercises for something slower and more focused on healing the body (like diaphragmatic breathing and functional progressions) while you replenish yourself. Having a baby doesn't make you fragile, but you can train smart!
- Embrace the Chaos
Coming from a self-proclaimed perfectionist, this one can be difficult. Pre-kiddo I could set aside a full hour and go work out. After-kiddo I'm just happy to go to the bathroom alone. That carries over to exercise routines. As nice as it is to get out of the house and exercise, sometimes that isn't feasible with work schedules and childcare. What do I do instead? I don't expect perfection and instead embrace the chaos. I let the toddler join me. Sure it might mean a 20 minute workout paired with kettlebell swinging the toddler or trying to do a Functional Progression 1 with her hanging on my side or jumping on my belly. But you know what? That's an awesome workout! Some people even pay big money for that kind of resistance training...and my kid gives it to me for free! If you're hesitant to workout because of your kiddo, I encourage you to include them in the workout and go with the flow. An added bonus is that your kiddo sees you exercise. hopefully for fun and they learn that moving is part of life, not a chore!
Not sure where to start? Let me help you! Give us a call at 331-307-7110 to schedule an appointment today and let us help you get back to exercising after baby!