Exercising post-birth: how soon can I start?
Bringing home a new bub can be rather daunting. Or maybe even a little petrifying, especially if it’s your first. To combat this fear, new mums often find themselves asking a whole heap of questions, because knowledge is power, after all.
One of the most asked questions by new mums is this one: how soon after giving birth can I start exercising? So that’s precisely why we’ve brought in Kim Dayhew, fitness professional at Virgin Active Health Clubs, to answer all your postpartum workout questions.
beautyheaven: How soon after giving birth can a new mum exercise?
Kim Dayhew: When you bring a new baby home, there are a lot of changes going on both with your body and your daily routine so it’s important for new mums to ease back into exercise and only start when they feel ready. It’s different for everyone, but allowing six to eight weeks for your body to recover from the birthing process before participating in gentle exercise is a good rule of thumb. If you’ve had a C-section, it’s wise to allow yourself eight to 10 weeks before returning to the gym.
bh: Should new mums consult their doctor before hitting the gym?
KD: Yes. Your doctor can help determine if it’s safe for you to get back to exercising or if more resting time is required. This is especially important if you have had surgery during birth, such as a C-section. At Virgin Active Health Clubs, we think it’s also a good idea to work with a trainer when first going back to the gym post-birth, as they can help tailor an exercise plan that’s appropriate for you.
bh: What types of exercise are best for new mothers?
KD: Low impact exercises such as walking and cycling, and gentle weighted exercises are a good way to get back into working out. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through kegel exercises can also help you see results. (We recommend LELO Luna Beads for this, as the they help to strengthen the vaginal wall and muscles, while also improving vaginal muscular control.)
bh: How long should it take for a woman to lose her baby weight?
KD:There is no set timeframe for a woman to lose her baby weight – it will vary from person to person. The important thing to remember is to be kind to your body (it’s been through a lot, after all) and don’t expect the weight to fall off immediately like a Hollywood star. By eating well and easing yourself into a light-moderate exercise plan six weeks post-birth, you will soon see results.
bh: Do you have any tips for losing weight around the stomach region?
KD: It’s difficult to spot-target areas where you wish to see weight loss, however, there are exercises you can do to help strengthen the stomach area. Work on doing gentle rotations on cable machines, which allow you to select the area you target and the weigh you lift, as well as incorporating functional exercises (exercises that simultaneously use multiple muscles and joints to improve muscular strength and agility) into your regime. Ensuring you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet post-birth is a good idea, but if you’re breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new diets.
bh: Are there any exercises a new mum can complete with her baby?
KD: Taking the bub out for a walk is a great way to exercise with your newborn. You can move at your own pace and get some fresh air all while enjoying a low impact workout. Don’t forget all the incidental exercise you do as a mum either; lifting your baby out of the bassinette is a great arm exercise, and bending down to pick up your baby can act as squats. Every bit counts!
bh: Do you have any advice for new mums who are scared about exercising?
KD: Don’t force yourself to get back to the gym until you’re ready. The birthing process is different for everyone so it’s important new mum’s listen to their body and do what’s right for them. We also advise that new mothers aren’t too hard on themselves and ease back into working out, as it’s just not possible to jump straight back into the same exercise routine they had pre-baby.
How soon did you start exercising after giving birth? Do you have any tips for strengthening and toning the troublesome stomach area post-birth?