It can be a hassle for some moms to decide on what, how or when they want to get started back into exercising after having a baby. We are notorious for putting too much pressure on ourselves to try to plan out a schedule from the very beginning when really all we need to do is get just a little more movement back into our routine.
There are so many hidden ways to get a little exercise in our daily routine whether you are already back to work or a stay-at-home mom. When you hear the word “exercise”, those feelings of anxiety may begin to stir—especially if you already had a previous rocky relationship with fitness “pre-baby”.
However, we’re calling them “hidden exercise” for a good reason—these exercises are so easy to do that you never thought of them as an exercise before.
Let’s discuss the “when”, the “how”, and the “what”…
Get Started Exercising After Childbirth: WHEN
In the beginning, right after having our babies, we are so sleep-deprived and focused on getting our routine down of when to feed, change, nap, and play with the baby. The last thing on our minds is asking ourselves: “When can I start working out again?”
Our health or fitness priority easily slides into that number two spot behind our brand new precious newborn. But what if I told you could handle both priorities at the same time?
Fortunately, here is the good news: you don’t have to worry about adding a fitness routine into your daily schedule until you are ready. Getting back into shape doesn’t have to look like a workout montage from the Rocky IV movie. Exercising as a brand new mom can simply be getting in some movement with or without the baby on your hip.
Even though it is a personal choice for everyone, it can be very beneficial for the health of new moms and it’s a great way to reconnect with your body after childbirth.
It is important that before you decide to start incorporating fitness back into your daily routine, to make sure you have consulted your doctor and been cleared for exercise—usually the sweet spot is around 6 weeks postpartum.
Always remember to start back slowly. The last thing you want to do is try to add too much too fast and end up hurting yourself or losing your self-confidence.
Get Started Exercising After Childbirth: HOW
The most important rule: Have a positive outlook.
In the beginning, it’s not about duration or intensity. It’s about making simple, healthy changes to your daily routine.
Adding even the smallest bit of exercise will benefit you in the long run. Since it doesn’t even have to take that long, using those baby power naps after you put them down during the day to slip a mat on the floor and get a 20-minute “workout” can make all the difference. Little by little, your journey will get easier and easier.
Simple Exercises to Get You Exercising After Childbirth: WHAT
Whether you are at work or at home, the best thing to remember is to just get moving. Sometimes we incorporate exercise throughout the day without even realizing it.
Below are some suggestions for ways to get a little more fitness into your daily routine. See if you’re already doing some of these simple exercises or if there is one or two that you could add to your daily routine:
- While at Work: If you’ve decided to go back to work after the baby’s birth, you might think your schedule is filled to the brim. However, a busy lifestyle isn’t an excuse to remain stagnant on your fitness journey.
- Always park in the farthest parking spot away from your building and walk to the front door of your car.
- Choose to take the stairs over the elevator.
- Instead of E-mailing your co-workers, walk to their desk to have a discussion.
- Place your printer on the opposite side of the room from your desk in your office. That way, every time you’ve printed something off you have to get up and walk to your printer.
- Make it a point to stand up every hour or so throughout the work day—whether it’s a bathroom break or filling up your water bottle.
- Go on a walk during your lunch break.
- Try doing some isometric exercises or stretching; i.e. contract your glute muscles, squeeze your hands together, contract your abdominal muscles or practice doing your Kegel exercises—no one will ever notice, I promise.
- While at Home: If you’ve chosen the stay-at-home mom route—again, there is no right path here—you can also workout, even if you feel like you’re too busy watching the baby.
- Pace or walk around at home anytime you are on the phone.
- Go on walks with your baby starting out with 10 minutes and then increase the time slowly by increments of 5 minutes.
- When you come home from the grocery store, bring one bag in at a time.
- If you go to the mall or a store, make three rounds inside the store before you allow yourself to buy or choose anything. (This will also help with spontaneous purchases!)
- Play music and dance with your baby—this is a great opportunity to bond!
- Have your baby on the floor lying on their back, get in a pushup position but with your knees on the ground. Be directly above your baby with hands on either side of them. Bend your arms slowly to reach down to your baby to give him or her a little kiss, girl-pushup style. This is a great exercise for your core and arms and a sweet way to give your baby a little love.
- With your baby still lying on their back from the previous move, try to hold a half plank on your knees, which you can eventually work up to a full plank position with your knees off the ground. Try to beat your previous time each day. It’s an awesome full-body exercise and looking at your adorable baby will make the time fly by so much faster.
- Carrying your baby around for extended periods of time can be a killer arm exercise. Instead of having the baby strapped to you in a sling try carrying your baby around throughout the day until you absolutely need to use both your hands.
These are just a few exercises I found beneficial and super easy to get me started back towards being more physically active after childbirth.
Can you think of any hidden exercises, that I might have missed that has helped you get back to exercising after childbirth?