I remember speaking to a personal trainer friend ‘before babies’ about our postpartum exercise routine and how after a few weeks rest we’d be back at it in no time… Oh sweet, naive me…
It really wasn’t that straightforward. Reality hits when things don’t feel quite right after having a baby, or your body doesn’t quite go back to where you wanted it to or still hasn’t, many years later.
Lots of mothers experience a similar awakening, some soon after giving birth and some years later, having reached a point where the body they’ve been pushing to exercise and ‘get fit’ isn’t getting stronger or fitter, it’s getting worse. In fact, it’s been screaming out warning signs for the past few years, but they’ve been ignored…
When you’re thinking about exercise after having kids, whether you’re a newbie mama or your children are now in their 20s and 30s, you should always follow these safety tips to ensure your recovery is as safe and effective as possible.
1… Be patient. Seriously. I know you’re desperate to feel ‘normal’ again and to feel sexy and like ‘you’. I really do get it. BUT. It took around 40 weeks to grow your baby and your body changed dramatically in this time, so it’s going to take a little while to heal and recover properly. If you’re reading this many years after giving birth and thinking you’ve got no more patience to give, hang in there, you’re in the right place.
2… Don’t run before you can walk. Learn to walk properly in correct alignment, every day and strengthen your core before you run. If you feel uncomfortable, if you leak (even a tiny bit), if your undercarriage feels unstable, then you need to STOP running and focus solely on rebuilding strength in your core and pelvic floor again. Intensive, high impact exercises will come again, but right now you need to focus on healing properly.
3… Give heavy weightlifting a wide berth if you have any of the following symptoms in point 4 during ANY exercise! Stepping away and rebuilding strength in your core and properly will mean you can help your body to cope with the exercises and lifts you want to do in the future.
4… Keep an eye out for these warning signs that could lead to something more serious if left. Leaking urine or worse (Nope. Never okay to pee yourself), pelvic or lower back pain, an unstable core, a body that shakes or trembles during a particular move, bulging or straining of the abdomen.
5… Show your core some love before you do anything else – a strong and fully functional core is key to pretty much every movement we do day to day and especially when we workout and do exercise. So it’s really important that you’ve helped your core to get back to where it needs to be before you ask too much of it. It’s been worked overtime, cut it some slack.
6… Start back slowly. You know the old saying. Slow and steady wins the race! Take your time and don’t get caught up in the ‘get back to your pre-baby body as quickly as possible’ race. It’s madness.
7… If you have diastasis recti there are many exercises that can make this worse and slow up your process of healing. Be mindful and do safe, low impact exercises that strengthen your core properly. See the MUTU System 12 Week Program to help you get your body where you want it to be.
8… Get aligned. Correct postural alignment is key to healing after having children. Where possible get out of heeled shoes and stop sitting so much, and squat more. You can learn more about what alignment has to do with healing diastasis recti here.
The MUTU System 12 Week program is designed specifically for ALL women who have ever had a baby. The exercises are safe, low impact and designed to target your core and pelvic floor.
You can and will feel stronger, sexier and happier again.