Depending on your labour the first 6 to 8 weeks after you give birth should contain very little strenuous exercise. Your doctor will you give you the okay when your body is ready to commence exercising again so during these early stages your focus should be on relaxation techniques, eating well and enjoying those special moments bonding with your newborn baby.
Over the coming months we will be exploring healthy lifestyle habits for post-labour mothers and demonstrating various exercise techniques to get you back into shape and feeling fantastic!
For now, here are a few simple tips to ease you back into it:
Exercise and Goal Setting
Setting goals is a good way to get started with any exercise program. Be realistic about your initial goals, start out slowly and progress in small and achievable steps. Your body has been through a lot and even if you were highly active during pregnancy it will take a while for it to handle the things that you were doing before. Remember whatever weight was put on during your pregnancy took nine months to get there and sometimes it can take just as long to come off, although with a little effort it can be a lot quicker.
Rest and Nutrition
Concentrate on healthy eating habits early on when you can only do very little exercise. Lean meat, fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods are very important. Sugar and processed foods should be avoided as much a possible. Having healthy snacks easily accessible in your home is a great way to ensure that your hand doesn't reach into the lolly jar or chip packet! New mums are very busy and although exercise and healthy eating are important for getting you back into shape, REST is crucial to your body’s recovery, so try and get some whenever you can!
Your motivation levels may be low, but having a friend to keep you company on a leisurely stroll is a good way to start. You will be amazed at the difference a little fresh air and sunshine can make you and your baby feel! Mothers groups are also a very good way to meet people at the same stage of life as you and many who attend will share your aspirations of getting back into shape. Later on you may consider participating in one of the many group training sessions available from fitness trainers, gyms and sporting clubs in your area.
Anna Grigg is a mother and qualified fitness professional from Sydney’s Northern Beaches with experience in personal/group training and social running squads. Anna is also a competitive long distance runner who regular competes in events up to half marathon distance.