Despite always being an active person, the demands of work and pregnancy meant that I didn’t do lots during the cooking of my two lovely little people. After both births, I felt distinctly ‘un-me’. I think the hardest thing was establishing a new way of fitting in exercise when suddenly someone else’s needs took priority.
Exercising is a mood booster and energy source so it’s definitely something important to get back to – but gently. Mind, the mental health charity, lists walking or running with your buggy among their suggestions for how to prevent or overcome post-natal depression, a condition that affects two in every 10 British mothers.**
5 steps to return to exercise after pregnancy
1. Start with a focus on walking and your pelvic floor exercises.
2. Rebuild some of your strength with body weight and low impact exercises like squats & lunges. Classes like Buggy fit are good for this.
3. A low impact cardio exercise like swimming or cycling is great at this point but if that’s too much faff, then just do fast walking with your buggy.
4. Set yourself a step goal to encourage general movement throughout the day. Smart watches or phones can track these for you and its rewarding to hit a goal.
5. Once you are strong enough to withstand the impact of excercise, then you can embark on a run or walk program like Couch to 5k, which gently guides you to running nonstop over the course of 8 weeks.
The long-term goal for a balanced body, which can stand the test of time, is incorporating the 3 fundamentals of fitness into your routine; Stretching (Pilates/yoga), Cardio (running, biking, swimming, walking) and Strength (body weight or weights).