It can be so easy to get so caught up in caring for your family and especially a new baby that you forget to take care of yourself. You may feel active and busy in a whole new way and having a postpartum fitness plan can seem completely daunting at first.
However, staying active and finding your postpartum fitness groove doesn’t have to be hard.
It can look different for different mothers and can even look different for you on different days. The important thing is to keep moving and look for little ways throughout the day to increase your activity level. And don’t forget everyone’s postpartum fitness journey will be different.
Obviously, exercise is not recommended in the immediate postpartum period (until okay’d by your OB or midwife); however, easing into activity with walking, stretching, and adding more as able will help you stay strong and healthy for your growing family.
I wrote a little about my postpartum fitness journey and strategies for getting back into fitness after some time off a few months back. Today, I wanted to share some more specific examples of activities I have been doing in the past 9 months to make sure I stay active even when I’m busy taking care of my baby.
Many of these postpartum fitness tips can really be used for any busy mother!
10 Ways to Ease Back into Postpartum Fitness
1. Invest in a good carrier (or 2 or 3) and pack baby along.
I became a baby carrier addict pretty quickly after having Baby R. I found that carrying him in the early days (once my broken foot had healed) kept him happy, allowed me to get more done around the house, and helped me stay more active in return. Packing baby around the block, grocery, park, or house will certainly help you build more muscle, especially as baby grows!
And, you don’t have to get out of the house to carry baby. One of the best ways to bounce back after pregnancy may simply be to get back into your regular routine of cleaning and chores that keep you moving. And what better way than with your baby tucked in close?
A good baby carrier can also help you get back to the fun things you enjoy in life quicker. A hike at the local park, enjoying a food festival, and shopping are just a few activities I’ve been able to do with my baby close by.
I’ve been using and loving my Tula carrier! I tried an ergobaby original too, but as a petite 5’1″ it just didn’t fit my frame well. This tula is a different pattern than mine, but really similar and the same model!
2. Make your exercise more efficient by doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
HIIT is a good way to rev up your metabolism, increase your calorie burn, and essentially get your workout done in a shorter time period. HIIT workouts can easily be done in your very own living room making it the perfect workout for busy moms (or dads or just people…who doesn’t want to work out faster anyway?) Be sure to read more on the benefits of HIIT and why you should add it to your exercise regimen today.
3. Use an app such as Seven to make good use of a short burst of free time without a plan.
Have a colicky baby and finding it difficult to find even 15 minutes to get in a workout? Here’s a 7 minute plan that you don’t have to plan for! Trust me, before we found out the root of my baby’s colic and reflux (undiagnosed tongue tie) I was using this app every day to get in at least 1 short burst of hard exercise. I combined it with loads of baby wearing and was relieved to find something that helped me get in a short workout when I felt like I had literally no time for it.
Seven doesn’t just have to be used for a postpartum fitness app; it could easily benefit any busy mom!
4. Baby and Mom Workouts or Yoga
This has been one of my favorite ways to stay active when I’m hanging out with Baby R all day. He loves the workouts and so do I! They play double duty in my world by providing an activity/interaction time with baby AND accomplishing my fitness goals. WIN, WIN!
You can find these on Youtube, and even many gyms offer workout programs for mom and baby, including Yoga and Stroller Workouts. The best part is you can do them in your living room and never even have to leave your house! Some of them utilize baby in a carrier while others have you lifting baby up and down, etc. Whatever style of exercise you prefer, there is sure to be something that fits for you and your baby. As with anything, be sure to use safe practices and watch baby closely.
5. Head outside to take baby for a Stroller Walk/Jog
My jogging stroller specifically recommended waiting until baby was 6 months to start jogging. As soon as our pediatrician gave me the “ok” that our baby was good for jogging, we started enjoying stroller runs. However, you can definitely enjoy pushing baby before this for long walks. While I typically carried my baby in a carrier before this, pushing a stroller may feel like more of a break and be a sanity saver for you on a long day.
6. Exercise while your baby does! (Tummy time, anyone?)
I know you spend time down on the floor while baby is on tummy time! Before Baby R was crawling, I would put him on a blanket and let him do his tummy time while I did my postpartum workout right beside him. I could get in a 30 minute workout while he laid on his tummy, played independently, and laughed at my silly moves.
However, it doesn’t have to stop when baby starts moving! Even now that he’s crawling I can still do my workouts while he is up and moving. I think he finds it mildly entertaining to watch so it’s possible he sits still a bit longer, but regardless he certainly finds it fun to crawl around me while I’m doing push ups and squats.
7. Plan to do a 10 minute Postpartum Rehab Workout Each Day
Exercising your core and pelvic floor in proper ways is a great way to ensure you are ready for more strenuous exercise postpartum. Some women really benefit from a physical therapist or personal trainer that specializes in women’s health to help them bounce back after delivery. Others can effectively do stretches and exercises at home to help retone.
8. Get Your Husband On Board
It’s worth mentioning that one of the simplest ways to get back to your exercise routine is having your spouse on board. Casey, my husband, helps me prioritize my workouts each week. This often allows me to actually get out of the house (solo!) for a run. Running outside is currently my favorite “me time” as I can turn on a podcast, audiobook, or some music and clear my head. Perhaps you feel invigorated when you have the chance to go to your favorite class at the gym. Work with your spouse to make this time for yourself.
9. Stay as well rested as possible.
There is a difference between, “I don’t work want to exercise today…I’m tired and dread it” and “I’m completely exhausted, had only 4 hours of sleep, and can’t possibly exercise.” If you’re truly exhausted you would benefit more from sleep or rest than exercise. Getting the rest you need will help you to feel like being more active in your everyday life and fit in a short workout when you find the time as well.
When I let myself take that extra nap if I’m feeling run down, I know I’m more likely to exercise next time i get the chance than if I just simply go on exhausted and miserable. You know your body. Don’t underestimate the impact of some good rest (if you have the chance to get it that is.)
10. Utilize at home workout programs.
It may be easiest to do your workout at home, especially if you have trouble finding a caregiver or time when your spouse is home to make it to the gym. If this is the case, invest in a home workout you enjoy. There are plenty of great workout DVDs, Youtube videos, or even printed plans. Buy some dumbbells (we love our adjustable bowflext set) or resistance bands and get fit in your own living room!
Your Postpartum Fitness Journey
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you don’t have time to exercise. I’ve learned we have time for what we make time! Whether it’s small fitness hacks throughout the day or a trip to the Y, we have to make it a priority to stay active and show our children healthy habits! Remember your postpartum fitness journey will look different than anyone elses and is your own. Don’t be intimidated if it feels like someone else bounced back quicker than you. We’ve got this, Mama!
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