Motherhood, particularly for first timers, often feels like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with a blindfold on! On top of everything this new role brings you, you may also be wondering how and when to safely return to exercising. As women we may have read all of the books and received all of the advice, even the unsolicited stuff we didn’t ask for. We may think we are ready for motherhood and that this is all going to be a breeze – then the baby arrives and you are faced with the reality of being a parent. You quickly realise the challenges ahead and questions begin to creep into your mind – including how in the world you are going to get both you, and your exercise regime, back on track during this whirlwind!
The books never seem to tell you this sort of stuff, but there are simple tips and tricks that we can share with you on how to fit in exercise as a new mum!
When should I start?
C section or complicated vaginal delivery – At the very least 10 weeks before embarking on any form of exercise. It starts with just slow, low impact core and pelvic floor work.
Normal vaginal birth. No complications – Medical advice is 6 weeks, but our advice is to ensure that you feel stable enough and if you do, start with very low impact core and pelvic floor work before anything else. We aren’t saying you can’t go for a run again, we’re just saying build the foundations first before you go for a 10k run.
Avoid high impact exercise until you’ve focused on core and pelvic floor strength – Your body will thank you in the long run.
See a women’s health PT or physiotherapist – This isn’t accessible to all women, although we believe it should be, but a women’s health PT will be able to assess you in-person, and determine when you can return to the exercise and do the sport you love again.
Always seek approval from your doctor, but listen to your body as well – You may have gotten the all clear, but listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, back up and focus on core work, or ask for a referral to a physio or PT.
Get your kids involved, too
Don’t use your little ones as an excuse to stop you from working out, but instead have them join you. Whether you have toddlers or a tiny baby, you can incorporate them in many ways!
Don’t be made to feel guilty
Spending time with your newborn is precious. However, it is all too easy to forget that you need time for yourself as well. When it comes to getting back into an exercise routine, it is ok to make time for yourself and let someone else hold your baby for just a little while! It is easy to forget that we are still human despite having a little person to look after. It is important to remember that you still matter and having that time for yourself still gives you that time to enjoy having your baby – especially before you have a crawler and then a walker that gets into everything!
Ask your partner for help
Always remember that you are not in this alone. There will always be someone to provide you with support and none are better than your partner. Talk to them and explain that it is important for you to take this time for yourself and exercise and let your partner bond with the baby. It will be the best of both worlds!
Change your habits
Make things easier for yourself by changing things up a bit! Start by setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier to get up and get your body moving. Doing a workout from home will cut down travel time to the gym and allow you to spend as much quality time with your baby as possible. You could also find a quiet space in the office during lunch to do some core work.
Another good thing to do is to log off social media for a week. It’s amazing how long we spend aimlessly scrolling when minutes are so precious in our lives. You will be surprised how much more time you will find for yourself when you turn off the ‘Gram.
In the evening or on weekends you could even cut down on TV time to work on ‘Project You’ – you will be surprised how small changes to your routine can make a big difference.
Give yourself grace
Being a mummy is tough. Your life has changed forever, and on this journey you will realise that not every day and every moment will go as planned. One day you may get that chance to do a killer workout and others you may be met with chaos, baby poop and forgetting to feed yourself. Just remember that it is ok to give yourself grace and a fresh start for tomorrow. Missing one day (or a week!) is not the end of the world, just pick yourself back up and start over fresh!