Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Post Baby Exercise

Since having a baby I get asked quite a lot when you can exercise, what’s the best thing to do and how often. I thought it would be good to share a few tips from my experience and other mums I have trained!

The general rule is you can start back after your 6 week check up, providing you have had a normal pregnancy and labour. However there is lots of different advice out there for when you can start back, especially if you have had any complications or if you had a c section. The best advice I can give is to start when you feel ready and start off gently, if you have any pains or bleeding stop and try again when you feel up to it. I had an emergency c section and a few complications after having my baby so was unsure when I would start back however I started to feel like exercising after 6 weeks and after checking with the doctor I began exercising again. When and what you start with does depend on your level of fitness before and during pregnancy.

So once you dig out your trainers, plan childcare or find a spare hour between feeds, nappies and housework what should you do?
I would recommend walking as soon as you feel ready with the pram and incorporating some hills in the walk a few times a week. Its great to get fresh air, get out of the house and get baby to sleep! If the walking feels easy then you know you are ready to step it up a bit. Begin with interval training on a bike, cross trainer, treadmill or outside. Work hard for two minutes, recover for a minute and build it up to 30 mins. Start doing some gentle resistance work and start working on your core with some simple abdominal exercises. Why not look for some exercise classes to try, there are some that allow you to bring your baby, or go with another new mum in the evening. Its important you are sweating and out of breath, then you know you are burning plenty of calories and will see an improvement in your fitness.

How often
Trust me I know now from experience how hard it can be some weeks to find the time to exercise but this is where a bit of advance planning is needed. Just like you plan baby groups, baby naps and feeds you need to try and plan your exercise sessions. Ideally you need to do 3 good sessions of 45-60 minutes a week. Can you fit it in before your partner goes to work, could you exercise while baby has a nap or could you arrange for a grandparent to come over for an hour while you go outside for a interval run? Some gyms do have crèche facilities so you can use the gym or attend a class.

Don't be put off if it feels hard at the beginning it will get easier and you will feel much better for doing something for yourself for a change. Plus it helps get you back in your pre baby clothes!