After you have given birth, it can feel like a minefield trying to work out what kind of exercise you can and can’t do. In a nutshell this all depends on the type of birth you had – ie natural, assisted or C-section. Assuming you’re not experiencing any complications, but not before you’ve had a full sign-off from your GP, it’s ok to start gently exercising. What’s important is to take your time. Don’t run before you can walk!
First and foremost, if you’ve had any complications or are nervous, seek out a qualified post natal trainer or class aimed at post natal women. If you were very active during pregnancy and have the confidence to return to exercise on your own then you could try the following to start with:
Brisk walk/run outdoors – Start small (anything from 10 minutes plus) and build either adding time or distance every week. Timing yourself, even walking, will help demonstrate progress, which will also help boost your mood.
Yoga – Yoga is a wonderful way to reconnect with your body and focus on movement. It is also time for healthy mind training, when you take time in a quiet environment to find space, time and peace.
Short HIT/interval session (providing you got the full-clear at your 6 weeks GP sign-off) A short high intensity training session will get your heart rate going and a release lots of lovely feel-good endorphins. However, this should be done with caution after an extended break from intense exercise.
Go for a cycle – This is a wonderful way to get your heart rate going without impacting on your joints. Also getting outside and enjoying all the benefits of fresh air is a great way to introduce cardiovascular exercise back into your regime.
Pilates – Start with mat based sessions or if you choose a reformer, be careful not to push yourself too hard. Pilates, like yoga, is a great way to reconnect with your body. Pilates teaches core stability through dynamic movement. Post childbirth, women often feel they lose their core strength; pilates is a great way to work on it whilst getting that feel good factor. Please note this should only be practised in a supervised environment, class or personal training session.
Article by Claire Finlay, founder and owner of Transition Zone