When caring for a newborn, finding the time and/ or energy to exercise can be extremely challenging. Sleepless nights, changes in routine, lack of energy, balancing family demands, and overwhelming feelings that so much needs to be done, can often mean that the best intentions to exercise post pregnancy, can often take a back seat. However, in spite of all the challenges making time to exercise can be extremely rewarding for the new mum.
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE POST PARTUM (POST NATAL)
The benefits of exercise post pregnancy are well documented and include:
An easier recovery from pregnancy as muscle strength is restored particularly for the abdominals, pelvic floor, lower and upper back
Improved mental & emotional well-being. Exercise provides an outlet for stress and the new challenges experienced with having a new born to care for. Exercise provides “time out” for oneself and in doing so, helps in supporting a healthy perspective on being a mum.
Increased energy levels as fitness and stamina improve. Conventional wisdom had suggested that exercise would induce fatigue, however, the opposite is now found to be true. Exercise during the post-partum months, helps increase stamina and improve energy levels
Weight management and shedding kilos which have occurred during pregnancy– helping to restoring ones metabolic rate and restore hormonal function to pre baby days
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE RECOMMENCING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM POST PREGNANCY:
First and foremost, is to seek medical clearance before recommencing with exercise or beginning a new exercise program.
Medical clearance is normally given around the 6 – 8 week post-natal check mark however this is not set in stone and is only an indication of time which can vary for every one depending on her individual circumstances of birthing and any complications encountered.
Choose an activity that is well suited to your body and needs. Everyone is different and there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. As during pregnancy, it is important to consider the type of exercise, the frequency of exercise and the intensity of exercise. This will vary for each woman depending on her fitness level and health status.
Follow a well-structured and considered program which is adjusted as you progress through your post-partum period. Your body will experience a multitude of changes throughout this time, and your program will need to reflect this.
Choose exercises that are functional and focused on strengthening your lower back, abdominals, pelvic floor, thoracic spine and help build stamina to assist you in everyday living with your newborn.
Listen to your body. Tune in and if you’re feeling tired, go easy on yourself. Do not push yourself too hard until you feel ready. Remember: some is good but doing more is not always better. Consideration should be given to impact on joints noting the hormonal changes that occur during and post-natal period.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING FIT AND STRONG ARE PERSONAL TO EVERY WOMAN
The type of exercise chosen should suit the individual mother, and considerations should be made to:
The new mother’s recent exercise history. If she had exercised during her pregnancy, then this mother would be able to resume physical activity once given medical clearance. We recommend that a suitable graded program would still need to apply.
The physical activity chosen. We suggest that the exercise routine chosen should suit the purpose/fitness goals and the mother’s current fitness capability e.g. a woman who has trained throughout her pregnancy and prior to her pregnancy, would most likely be capable of re-introducing some of the exercises she was doing prior to child birth at a similar intensity, compared to a woman who did not exercise throughout her pregnancy or did very minimal exercise during this period. This woman would need to take a more conservative approach to starting exercise and should seek the services of a skilled exercise professional in assisting her in getting started.
Healthy Fit supports healthy positive body images and women who want to exercise both during their pregnancy and post pregnancy.
We welcome all mothers to be and the new mum to call on us for assistance in continuing with exercise during your pregnancy and post-partum.
Written by Brigitte Piscioneri
Co-Founder/Personal Trainer/Educator Brigitte has an extensive background in both education and fitness. As a successful small business owner, Brigitte is a natural leader and a highly skilled, knowledgeable fitness coach who has helped thousands of people reach their fitness goals. With more than 20 years’ of coaching experience in the fitness industry, Brigitte has undertaken studies in strength and conditioning, advanced programming, health and nutrition, Pilates, injury rehabilitation, weight management. A dynamic and creative fitness coach who is passionate about sharing health and fitness, Brigitte brings great energy and enthusiasm to her work and provides motivation, inspiration and encouragement to both clients and “The motivation behind starting Healthy Fit was our belief that health and fitness changes lives. We wanted to create a different type of fitness experience because we know that for many people, fitness doesn’t come easy and gym environments can be intimidating and overwhelming. We consciously set out to create a space that is different to other gyms. We wanted to make it fun and create a culture of welcome, providing people with a sense of safety and comfort in order to support their success to: Live Fit – Live Life!" Brigitte and her team are on a mission to give people a positive and sustainable experience of fitness and wellness.