being a mom

Have Baby, Will Exercise: Starting Exercise After Having A Baby

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You just had a baby. You’re finally starting to emerge from the fog that is learning how to care for a teeny human without an instruction manual and you want to start exercising. Traditionally moms were told to wait six weeks before starting to exercise for a vaginal birth and twelve weeks for a c-section, but many doctors are changing those recommendations to take into account how each individual heals after labor. Once you get the green light to resume working out after giving birth, how do you know where to start?

Finding the time to squeeze in a workout once you become a mom is hard, and you want to make that time count. Assuming you aren’t one of those women who managed to keep up with her marathon training while pregnant, knowing where to spend your limited post-baby workout time can be confusing. Should you focus on crunches? Cardio? Does holding the baby all day count as weight-lifting? I asked fitness expert Lindsay Brin, C.P.T. & B.S.E. Exercise Science, what forms of exercise are most important for moms starting a workout routine after giving birth. Brin’s advice is to concentrate on core work and building cardiovascular endurance. She recommends progressive core work (you can check out her eight minute post-natal core workout here) that works on restrengthening your core muscles over time and building endurance through movement–  even something as simple as walking.

Getting involved in a local Stroller Strides club, or finding a mom friend to meet up for walks is a great start if the weather is on your side. But if your roads are covered in snow and the thought of leaving your baby while you go to the gym sends you into a panic, you’ve still got options. There are great free workout resources online. I prefer video workouts because I’m more likely to finish the workout when I have someone cheering me on and there’s music. Plus, you can preview them to see if it looks like something you’ll like before you take the time to put on a bra.

The most important thing to look for in an online workout, whether it’s from a website article or a video, is making sure that it’s being presented by someone with proper fitness certifications, so you can avoid getting hurt. Healing from a pulled muscle is always difficult, but as a new parent you have enough going on with your post-baby body, you don’t need one more physical ailment to deal with. It doesn’t matter how pretty that ocean background looks or how thin the host is, doing a workout designed by someone without proper training is dangerous.

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