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The Benefits of Postpartum Exercise
Postpartum exercise can help new mothers feel their best during a massive life transition. Read more to learn about the benefits of trying a postpartum workout!
Calling all new moms! Are you hoping to hit the gym soon?
Having a baby, whether your first child or fifth, is a massive lifestyle change for anybody. Not only are you (and your family) working hard to care for your newborn, but your mind and body are adjusting to life after pregnancy and childbirth.
While this is a wonderful and special time, it can also be complex to navigate and adjust—and that can make returning to the gym feel intimidating. That’s where your friends at Jack City Fitness come in—we’ve assisted new moms with postpartum exercise since we opened our doors! In this article, we will discuss postpartum exercise, its many benefits, and how to get started in a way that works for your unique needs.
And don’t forget, we are always available to answer your specific questions in person—simply call (208) 999-1111 for a (free!) consultation at our fitness center.
The Postpartum Workout Plan: What Is It?
The term “postpartum exercise” refers to workouts performed by women who have recently given birth. However, this term does not mean that new moms must choose from specific “postpartum-only” workouts. Instead, this phrase simply refers to the act of exercising in the early days following childbirth. All sorts of workout styles and exercises count as a postpartum workout plan; some moms go to their local gym, while others prefer hiking or other outdoor exercises.
While we believe that postpartum exercise is a great decision for new moms, there are certain considerations to be made. For instance, women who are breastfeeding might find certain types of exercise uncomfortable if they don’t wear a supportive bra—they may also have to pump or breastfeed before hitting the gym. In addition, women who experienced more complicated pregnancies or gave birth via cesarean may still be recovering physically and will need to modify their workouts to match their needs.
Are There Benefits to a Postpartum Exercise Plan?
Yes, absolutely! We highly recommend that new moms aim for even a small amount of exercise when they feel ready. Here are some of the biggest reasons we give postpartum exercise two thumbs up:
1) It Can Combat Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can turn people’s lives upside down. While exercise won’t simply make it go away—we wish it could— it is known for creating endorphins and boosting mental health. Indeed ,studies have shown that exercise can reduce some symptoms of postpartum depression and help prevent remission.
2) It Can Help Your Sleep
A new baby brings lots of wonderful things into your life. In general, loads of sleep isn’t one of them. The sleep deprivation that comes alongside life with a newborn can be very challenging. Since exercise promotes better sleep, maintaining a postpartum workout plan can help make the sleep you do get count.
3) It’s a Great Act of Self-Care
Most of your life currently revolves around your baby’s needs…but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out some time for yourself as well. If you love to move, working out is an ideal way to incorporate healthy “me time” into your routine. This is also a great way to socialize—we see lots of new parents in our fitness classes!
4) It Can Help You Regain Muscle Strength
If you lost some of your muscle strength or tone during your pregnancy, postpartum core exercise might be for you. Regaining strength and power in your abdominal muscles will help you enjoy a better sense of physical balance. This can be helpful as you adjust to having your hands full with new routines and responsibilities as a parent!
What Are the Most Popular Types of Postpartum Exercise?
When it comes to choosing your ideal postpartum exercise plan, much comes down to your personal preference. Some go for walks while others perform gentle yoga—and still others jump back into their pre-pregnancy routine as soon as they get the go-ahead from their doctor.
However, as we mentioned above, many new moms choose to engage in postpartum core exercises to regain strength and overall function.
Postpartum core exercises are often used to strengthen parts of your body that underwent strain during your pregnancy and delivery, like your pelvic floor. In fact, kegels—or pelvic floor workouts—are considered essential postpartum exercises. They are performed by contracting the muscles that comprise your pelvic floor and then relaxing them. These workouts can be a game-changer for postpartum women experiencing bladder or bowel issues.
Postpartum Exercise: Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re considering postpartum exercise for the first time, it’s natural to have lots of questions about it. We’ve listed some of the questions that postnatal athletes ask our coaches most often below. If you don’t see your question listed here, give us a shout—most likely, someone from our team will have the answers you need. It’s also a good idea to chat with your OB/GYN or doctor about what types of workout will be best for you and when you will be ready to start.
When Can You Start Working Out After Having a Baby?
So, when can you exercise after giving birth?
The truth is there is not just one answer to this question. Every pregnancy and delivery comes with different circumstances, and every woman’s body will respond to these conditions differently.
In general, women with uncomplicated births can begin performing very low-impact workouts (like stretching) soon after delivery. For more intensive workouts, we would recommend waiting 6-8 weeks and getting cleared by your doctor before hitting the gym.
Recovery time will vary if you had a complicated labor or a cesarean. It’s best to work with your doctor on choosing an appropriate time to do any intensive or strenuous exercise.
How Do I Prepare for Postpartum Exercise?
We believe that the best way to prepare for postpartum exercise is to know your limits, ask for support, and buy a high-quality sports bra that fits you properly. This is not the time to wing it!
We recommend working with a dedicated fitness coach as well as consulting a medical professional before starting your postpartum workout plan. They will be able to help you set goals and create a routine that is safe, effective, and appropriate for your needs.
Remember, your body has been through a lot in the last year, and your muscles likely aren’t as strong as they were before pregnancy. This is especially true for your abdominals and your lower back. Don’t push yourself.
How Long Do I Continue Postpartum Exercise?
As your body recovers from childbirth, you will be able to safely engage in more intensive workouts and get back to your pre-pregnancy gym routine. As we mentioned before, the best way to do this safely is to check in with your doctor and fitness coach.
Where Can New Moms in Boise Find a Supportive Place to Work Out?
At Jack City Fitness, we always work at your pace and on your terms. That’s why so many athletes come to us for their postpartum exercise plan. We offer supportive, knowledgeable, and customizable fitness coaching on your schedule. We even offer remote training options (which can be very handy in the early days of parenthood!) and all-women workout classes. (Our ladies-only HIIT class is extremely popular…and comes with loads of benefits!)
Call 208-999-1111 today to get in touch with our team about beginning your postpartum workout plan at Jack City Fitness. We have all the equipment, space, and experience you need. We are so excited to meet you and help you navigate your postnatal exercise journey!