Wondering how to get back in shape post-baby? Guest contributor (and fitness professional) Alex K has tips.
Giving birth to a child is one of the hardest things a woman can do to her body. Through a nine month period your body will put on excess weight. In addition, you will get less sleep than you need, which can contribute to stress and weight gain. Plus, the extra weight in your belly area can cause strain on both your abdominal wall and lower back. These are just a few of the issues you can experience pre-labour … and then you get to go through labour. After that is over there is a period where you try to get back in shape. For some moms this can take a few months and for others it can take years. All of this is worth it though for the experience of getting to spend the rest of your life with the little treasure that grew inside of you for nine months!
Step Number One to Get Back in Shape
Many women struggle to get back in shape after their pregnancy and this is normal. Your body went through many changes during pregnancy. If it took nine months to create these changes it can easily take as long to reverse all of them. In this article we offer you a few tips on getting yourself back into shape after pregnancy as quick as possible.
The first major thing you can do is to exercise while you are pregnant. Get clearance from your doctor on what you can and can’t do but try to exercise as far as possible into your pregnancy. If you are fit and active prior to being pregnant you should be able to continue exercising, with modifications, all the way to the end of your pregnancy. Exercising during pregnancy has several benefits. It keeps your muscles and joints stronger. It will help to minimize weight gain from the extra food that you are consuming. Plus, it will help keep your metabolism revving higher for longer. This means that it will take much less effort after you give birth to get your metabolism back to normal levels and burning those excess calories quicker.
Create a Support Network
After you give birth you are going to be very fatigued. This can cause extra stress on you, which will contribute to weight gain. Having a family support network is essential to giving your body the rest it needs to help reduce your stress levels. Reducing stress will help you keep the extra fat off.
Breastfeeding is great for your baby, as we all know. It also benefits you as the mother by causing your body to burn extra calories in the production of milk. It naturally increases your metabolism and therefore helps you lose weight quicker. This double-benefit to breastfeeding means you should try to maintain it for as long as possible after you give birth.
Healthy eating will be key to your weight loss. If you had cravings or binge eating episodes during pregnancy, your goal is to get rid of these as soon as possible. Get your body used to the healthy flavours and foods it needs to be healthy and get rid of any temptation you may have in the home such as that box of cookies in the cupboard. More information on diet and healthy eating can be obtained found on Families First BC or Email a Dietitian.
In terms of exercise to help you get back in shape here are a few tips to keep in mind:[unordered_list style=”bullet”]
- If you had a C-Section you need to be really careful on activities that will strain your abdominals to prevent further tearing. Sitting up from a laying down position or squatting are two daily activities that are particularly hard on the abdominals so make sure you ease into these.
- Walking with your baby in a stroller is great activity that will strengthen your legs, core and arms. Try varying your speed as you walk and add a hill or two as you get in better shape.
- Some women experience urinary incontinence after giving birth, especially during jumping activities. Work on pelvic floor exercises that will help you stabilize/strengthen the area making it easier to control accidental urination.
- Since you were probably much less mobile for the last few months of your pregnancy you will most undoubtedly have lost some muscular strength. Therefore starting off with a light strength training program is key to rebuilding your strength. Using a few sets of light dumbells or cans of food, you can start to strengthen your whole body. You can also use your baby for many exercises such as squats, lunges, bicep curls and rear rows (for your back). This can be a time for you to bond with your baby and get in shape as well. Baby’s love being moved around and you can get your workout in at the same time!
The key is to get active early on in your pregnancy, maintain your activity during pregnancy and then keep going as soon as you can after. Keep in touch with your physician, and trainer, as your body changes and get their guidance on what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Remember that your body likes consistency so fluctuating too much in terms of activity levels or eating will mess with your body and make it much more difficult to get back in shape after baby.
Alex K is an online Fitness Professional providing health and wellness to the world through his online workout program Cardio Blast. Members of www.Cardioblast.com receive new cardio workouts every week, strength training programs, 50 page meal plan, fitness tracking and personal training included with their membership. You can also follow Cardio Blast on Facebook and Twitter.