Postnatal Fitness: Why You Should Exercise As A New Parent

Becoming a new parent can be a pressurising as well as daunting experience. Welcoming a brand-new little bundle of joy in your life can take up a lot of your time, energy and love. There are many benefits as to why you should introduce gentle exercise into your weekly routine, as it understandable that it can take a backseat when going through the first stages of parenthood. Children’s retailer, Kiddies Kingdom outline the many positive outcomes of exercising with a newborn.

The benefits of gentle exercise

Research suggests that the lowest rates of physical activity can be found in women with young children. It’s also been brought to light that not all new parents are told about the critical importance of exercising after giving birth. While it’s understandable that being a new parent can take over your life, it’s important to ensure a healthy lifestyle that involves exercise.

Another huge factor not be forgotten is rest, due to the timely recovery process of birth. Whilst the pressure to “bounce back” should be shunned, gentle exercise can have a fantastic array of health and healing benefits, and new mums should be educated on this.

Lynsey Love, Maternal Mental Health Awareness fighter and campaigner says: “During pregnancy, your body will have undergone many changes, and it’s important to keep this in the forefront of your mind when focussing on the recovery of your body. Giving exercise the correct time and focus can benefit new mums immensely.”

Re-build strength and confidence

The benefits of exercising after the trauma of birth can be very worthwhile on a physical level. Starting with just walking can help to rebuild your muscle strength and firming of the body postpartum, as well as developing cardiovascular fitness overall. Perhaps contrastingly to the connotations attached with exercising, undertaking physical activity has the ability to make you less tired, thanks to its energy raising properties.

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Consult your health practitioner

Aroosha Nekonam, personal trainer at worldwide gym provider Ultimate Performance added: “Providing you consult your doctor or midwife before starting any exercise after giving birth, it can really assist with rebuilding strength and confidence. Weight training in particular can help restore muscle strength, promote weight loss and improve heart and bone health.

As well as the more obvious physical benefits of exercising, physical activity substantially increases feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and a range of endorphins. By supporting strong levels of these particular hormones, new mums are more likely to be happy and healthy, both mentally and physically, with some research even suggesting an improvement of mood and even a reduction in the risk of postnatal depression. Not only this, these same feel good hormones also have the ability to encourage and enhance the all-important bond between new mums and their babies.

Aroosha continues, “When it comes to getting started, try easing yourself in, two to three days a week of 30 minutes would be adequate and then gradually build. If you were already very active before and during pregnancy, you may be able to do more sooner – again always consult your GP beforehand.”

Light exercises to get you started

  • As mentioned, walking is a great way to start. Opting to walk over driving is not only great cardio but the combination of walking and pushing a stroller is a great way to rebuild your strength.
  • Postpartum: one effective exercise to try is the plank to work on your core. Whilst planking you can place your baby in a safe and comfortable position in front of you which can also encourage bonding time. 
  • When your baby is at the stage of being able to sit up by themselves, try a few sets of squat and curls. This particular activity can be performed whilst attending to your baby, simply do this by holding your baby outright, squat down as far as is comfortable and as you return, curl your baby towards you.

Exercising can also be very encouraging for your little ones to partake, which is always a bonus. Involving the entire family in a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle will definitely help you incorporate exercise into your routine.

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