5 tips for exercising after birth
Getting moving is the best way to shift the extra preggie padding.
Have you recently had a baby and are trying to get back into shape but time is limited and you don’t know where to start? According to a 2004 research study
, most women retain 1,5kg of the weight they gained during pregnancy one year after delivery. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:
- Whether you had a C-section or a natural birth, wait 6 to 8 weeks after the birth to pick up or start an exercise routine. You may have to wait longer if you experienced complications during pregnancy or delivery that requires extra care. Speak to your doctor about how soon you can get started and the right exercises for you. It always helps to choose something that you enjoy to make it seem less like a chore, so try a fun group exercise class like the new Fit Mamma classes at Virgin Active that start 16 May 2011.
- Never overdo it, exercise should make you feel better and not cause pain. Call your doctor if you experience severe or chronic pain, increased bleeding, faintness, nausea or difficulty breathing.
- As long as your doctor allows, you can begin Kegel exercises whenever you feel up to it. Contract the muscles of the pelvic floor for as long as you can hold them. Start by squeezing and holding for a count of three to five seconds and then relax for 5 seconds. This will help strengthen the pelvic floor and speed your recovery along.
- Walk as much as you can without feeling fatigued, usually light lower and upper body exercises are quite safe and can be started after delivery.
- Make exercise bonding time and take you baby along for walks or hikes in a stroller or baby sling.
Why group exercise is better
- Social benefits: Most people spend their early years socialising in groups, playing games or other fitness activities. As we get older, most people are too busy to socialise regularly and group exercise can be a great option. It also prevents boredom with exercise, by adding an element of camaraderie to the chosen activity.
- Increased safety: Working out in a class, with an instructor, can help ensure that all participants are using proper exercise technique. Proper technique is important to maximise the benefit of exercise, while minimising the risk of injury.
- Accountability: Making an appointment to exercise with others increases the likelihood that you will show up to exercise. There is no penalty for a missed workout for exercising alone but if you miss a group session, you may annoy the rest of the group. This provides some extra motivation to stick with your program.
Ceri Hannan is the National Group Exercise Manager at Virgin Active.
How did you get back into shape after giving birth?