by Gracia Smith
It goes without saying that your life changes after becoming a mother. Nearly all your waking hours (and most of your sleeping hours, too) become dedicated to one of two things: caring for the newest member of your family, and staring at him or her with a sense of awe, wonder, and unconditional love. This phase of your life is incredible and so rewarding - but if we’re honest, it’s not a great time for your health.
Between the sleepless nights, the busy days, and the recovery your body goes through after childbirth, it’s no wonder that many new moms need some time before they can resume a fitness regimen. However, we’ve got the tips you’ll need to get back to the gym as soon as you’re ready:
Follow The Doctor’s Orders
For some moms, getting that post-baby body back is the furthest thing from their minds. Other moms are excited to get back in the gym and get their heart rate up. Wherever you fall on the “urge-to-exercise” spectrum, it is critical that you listen to your doctor and take his or her advice before you begin exercising again.
The most common recommendation is to wait six weeks after giving birth, though it may be longer if you have a c-section. While this may seem too long for some eager mothers, it really is an important waiting period. Exercising too soon can damage your stomach muscles, which are still recovering from your pregnancy and birth, and too much too soon can delay your recovery.
While you’re just getting started at the gym again, it’s vital that you stay as healthy as possible. New mothers can experience lowered immunity to common bacteria and diseases that can be found on fitness equipment and in locker rooms, which is why it’s important to make sure you work out at a facility that’s sanitary and routinely uses gym wipes to make sure equipment is properly cleaned.
Make A Plan - And Be Ready To Change It
It’s fairly common knowledge that once someone makes an appointment, he or she is more likely to keep it. This is why day planners are so effective; scheduling time in the day for certain activities leads people to be more productive because they’re keeping appointments with themselves.
However, it’s very common knowledge that life with a newborn is hectic. In those first few months, blocking out any time for anything can seem like an exercise in futility. But here’s a tip - do it anyway. Once you’ve blocked out time in your schedule, you are more likely to follow through - even if it’s at a slightly different time. A to-do list can keep you on track despite the craziness of a new baby in the house, which can, in turn, help you get back into the workout groove.
Burn Calories With Your Baby
Maybe you don’t want to leave your bundle of joy with a sitter while you get some cardio. That’s fine! There are plenty of ways to get in your daily exercise without going it alone. Strap the baby into the stroller and go for a walk or a jog. Lay him down on a playmat and try some bodyweight exercises in the living room beside him. Even some good old playtime with your child can be a great way to burn some extra calories.
As we mentioned earlier, just because you block out time to workout doesn’t mean it will happen as you plan. The key is not letting fitness fall by the wayside and “sneaking it in,” if you will. These moments when you’re playing with the baby or out for a walk can be perfect for getting you back in shape.
Celebrate Those Baby Steps
You are going to celebrate tons of milestones in your baby’s first year. The first time he sleeps through the night, the first time he smiles, and when he starts crawling around the house are all magical moments. They will take time, of course, but you’re well prepared and awfully patient. So why not be as patient with yourself?
Giving birth is an incredible experience, and it’s completely natural for your body to change as a result. There’s no reason to rush yourself as you adjust to this new chapter in your life. Just like your baby’s first steps or first words, getting back to your old gym routine will take time. Celebrate each pound you lose and every mile you run. If you ask us, those baby steps are pretty important, too!
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