How To Stay Active Post-Pregnancy
Being active is so important after childbirth for both your physical and mental health!
In the first weeks after giving birth your focus will be on your new baby, recovering from birth and life as a new mum! You’ll need clearance from your healthcare professional and it will take time to get back to working out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still stay healthy and active.
Once I had clearance from my healthcare professionals after having Arna, I found that staying active in small ways helped me to boost my energy — so here are some of my tips for getting incidental exercise in with your new baby.
How to stay active without working out
Just moving your body is so beneficial! Even just 10 minutes of activity is better than nothing. There are so many ways that you can move to help you feel positive about your body and become strong while taking the best care of your baby!
Finding ways to do small amounts of exercise, when you have a moment, can add up over the day. The goal is to get 20-30 minutes of incidental exercise across each day!
Make sure that you follow the guidelines given to you by your health professionals. You can tell your healthcare team that you want to be active, and they will guide you through the activity level that is appropriate at each phase of your recovery.
6 Ways to get incidental exercise post-pregnancy
When you’re feeling tired, sometimes a little exercise can boost your mood and give you a spark of energy, and even give you a chance to socialise!
Start slow, and increase the intensity and length of the exercise as you become stronger and feel more positive about your body.
Here are a few things to try:
1. Use household items to substitute for gym equipment
To make it as easy as possible to fit a workout in while you’re looking after a baby, you can use household items for your equipment.
Using a chair, you can do tricep dips and step-ups.
The couch can be substituted as a bench (as long as it isn’t too soft!).
If you’re doing a workout and you want to add some resistance, fill a milk carton with water to use as dumbells. One litre is one kilogram! For a gym mat, you can substitute a bath or beach towel.
2. Use cleaning as your workout
Cleaning your house can get just as sweaty as a workout!
Instead of just viewing it as a chore that needs to be done, think of cleaning time as a way to stay active without actually doing a workout!
3. Go for a walk with the baby during morning or afternoon nap times
Walking is the best exercise to start with once you are ready to move, and can be done with a pram or baby carrier too. Take it very easy when beginning, starting with 5-10 minutes, and increasing as you feel ready.
I’ve found that Arna’s 4pm nap is great time for a walk! If your baby has a longer sleep at some point during the day, you could build up to a longer walk. This is ideal for some fresh air and some LISS!
4. Find other ways to make use of nap time (fit in what you can while the baby sleeps)
Once you’ve been cleared to work out again, it’s a matter of finding the time in your busy day. If your baby has a long daytime sleep, you could use this time for a Post-Pregnancy workout.
My Post-Pregnancy program is designed to help women gently return to exercise after having a baby, and it’s endorsed by a panel of leading obstetricians and exercise physiologists. The workouts range from 15-25 minutes, and are lap-based so you’ll complete the exercises at your own pace.
If you are short on time, there are also mobility workouts that you can fit in if you only have ten minutes.
My Post-Pregnancy program is designed with four Foundation Weeks that are designed to guide women who’ve had a C-section or other complications during birth. The exercises will help you to rebuild foundational core and pelvic floor strength, and workouts are designed to be flexible to fit into any free moments you can find!
5. Do 10 minutes at a time
Your stamina after having a baby might need to be built back up again. Added to that, a baby’s needs can be unpredictable — so you could set yourself shorter goals for workouts.
Set a 10-minute timer when working out and work within that 10 minutes. If you are still working out after the timer has gone off, repeat the timer again until you have completed 28-30 minutes of exercise (if you can).
If you know you only have 10 minutes at a time, you are more likely to give it your all in those 10 minutes!
6. Know that you don’t need to do a lot!
A great mini-workout you can do at home is to pick any two exercises you love and use them to do a “ladder”.
This means that you do one rep of the first exercise, followed by one rep of the second exercise and increase it by one rep every time until you get to 10!
- 1 squat, 1 pushup
- 2 squats, 2 pushups
- 3 squats, 3 pushups
- 4 squats, 4 pushups … and so on until you get to 10 squats, 10 pushups!
By the end, you will have done 55 squats and 55 pushups!!!
Get active post-partum with incidental exercise!
It is so important to make time for yourself too!
As you begin exercising gently, take the time to listen to your body. Looking after yourself enables you to give 100% when you’re caring for your new baby, and you set a good example! When you’re ready to work out again, you might not get to 30 minutes every single day, but be consistent, and as your baby grows, you’ll be able to fit in more incidental exercise.
Do you have a tip for getting incidental exercise? Share it in the comments below!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.