You have maintained a great fitness routine despite being a mother of five. Share an insight into your fitness routine, especially post-natal fitness recovery.
5 exercises every woman should practice regularly for staying fit all through pregnancy.
Staying active throughout my pregnancies was something I honestly believe helped me have incredibly healthy pregnancies, relatively uneventful deliveries, and healthy babies. If I could recommend a few exercises you should absolutely incorporate into your pregnancy, here’s what I would suggest:
1. Walk: Anyone can do this. Make it a point to go for a walk each day and move your body. Like any exercise, it is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress!
- Walking helps to increase energy
- It can help improve mental health and wellbeing
- Walking can help to increase your metabolism
- It can help to improve balance and coordination
- Helps to strengthen bones and muscles
- Walking can help to counteract weight promoting genes. What should your goal be? How many steps per day? at least 10,000 steps per day!
2. Prenatal Yoga: Prenatal yoga has tremendous health benefits. As it helped with increased flexibility, strength, but it also focuses on breathing and relaxation techniques (which come in handy during labor). But it also has many other benefits:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Decrease lower back pain
- Decrease nausea
- Reduced risk of preterm labor
- Lowered risk of intrauterine growth restriction (a condition that slows the growth of the baby)
- Reduced high blood pressure complications
- Improved fetal outcomes
3. Prenatal Barre: This is a low-impact way to gain strength, tone your muscles, & stay active, with some great benefits, like:
- increased flexibility
- better balance
- improved posture
- muscular strength
- cardiovascular endurance
- weight loss
- reduction of cellulite
4. Strength Training: This is SO helpful in increasing strength that will help you with your pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. You can use your bodyweight, free weights, or machines. I personally love free weights & my body weight as they are exercises; I can do at home.
A few tips: Make sure you’re using proper lifting technique. Avoid most moves that are on your back. A rule of thumb my doctor taught me: if you feel short of breath on your back, your baby(babies) likely does, too. I avoided lying flat on my back pretty much after my 1st trimester. Avoid any core exercises that put too much pressure on your core muscles. This can weaken them and make you at higher risk for distastasis recti postpartum (which might be inevitable anyway, but at least you can reduce your risk!). Move cautiously during your workouts and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
4. Swimming: I increased my swimming during my second pregnancy when I began experiencing back pain and sciatica. Swimming was nearly one of the only forms of exercise that didn’t cause any pain, and I honestly believe it’s what helped to improve my back pain. For me, I love feeling WEIGHTLESS especially while pregnant. I love the serenity of the pool.
- The water reduces the normal stress on your musculoskeletal system and supports the weight of the baby.
- And swimming is a TOTAL body workout.
- Low impact exercise that partially supports weight
- Reduces swelling in your legs and ankles
- Decreases sciatic pain/pressure (I can attest to this!)
- Reduces pressure on your bladder
- Has been shown to decrease nausea during pregnancy
- Helps maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Increases energy (combats that pregnancy fatigue!)
5. Try at-home fitness program: I was 6 weeks postpartum with my first daughter when I found the home workout programs that I have now been doing for the last 6 years. As a busy mom of five kiddos under the age of six, I absolutely need workouts that are:
- Easily accessible
- Cost effective
- Time efficient (my ideal is 30 mins or less per day)
- Modifiable to any fitness level (from the newly postpartum mom to the experienced athlete wanting to maintain their strength and weight)
- Enjoyable and varied
- Challenging and will help me reach my health and fitness goals
But I also knew I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. I needed to be surrounded by a community I could check-in with (virtually) to help keep me motivated and on track.
I found all the above in these programs and cannot tell you how much they have changed my life. When I work out has varied along the years…. newly postpartum, it might be during naptime or after kids go to sleep. Now, it’s before the kids wake. As women and mothers, we often pour ourselves into others. Early morning is the ONE time of day I can pour into myself without distraction! But in getting up and working out, it sets my entire tone for the day. I have more energy. I’m happier. And, I can honestly say, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.
And, best of all, I get to coach other women & moms in find the best program for their personal journey so that they, too, can find their confidence and strength again!
Immediately postpartum, though, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking it SLOWLY.
Far too often, I see women jump back in too quickly. They expect to be able to do what they did pre-pregnacny, but our bodies are not quite there yet. It is extremely important to let your body heal from the inside out. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations for when it is safe to begin workouts. EASE back in.
Six weeks postpartum is the first time I started my workouts, and I took it even more cautiously and slowly after my C-sections. My doctor advised me ONLY walking after my C sections and walking only a relatively short distance per day. No lifting anything for 6 weeks post C-section except for my baby/babies. A C-Section is a major abdominal surgery, and I surely didn’t want to make the mistake of doing something to impede my recovery.
You will want to find SAFE postpartum programs to regain core strength (especially the lower abdominal muscles) and your pelvic floor muscles.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.