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Tips & Blog

Postpartum Exercise:Why, how, & tips to get started

 

Postpartum Exercise:
 
Why, how, & tips to get started 

By Christy Li, Founder of Pi-Yo Play®

 

 

Why should you begin exercising after your 6-week post delivery physician check-up?                                                                                     

Benefits:

  1. Speeds the rate of healing from labor & delivery
  2. Relieves discomfort from labor & delivery and perhaps from either holding a position for too long and/or being in a position we are not used to like breastfeeding and holding our baby for long periods at a time (stretching tight, sore muscles will help)
  3. Speeds postpartum weight loss
  4. Improves posture
  5. Restores pelvic floor muscles
  6. Restores abdominal separation by focusing on doing core work
  7. Improves/develops functional balance
  8. Maintains &/or strengthens muscles, especially for lifting & carrying baby
  9. Increases energy level
  10. Increases self esteem
  11. Relaxes the body & mind, especially by focusing on the power of the breath
  12. Provides social support if done in a class/group setting
  13. Provides a time to bond & play with baby if done in a class/group setting or if done at home with baby

What is a simple exercise program for a new mother?

1.      Cardio: start by just walking your baby in his/her stroller for a half hour 3x per week or more and/or dance with your baby as he/she is in her bay carrier.

2.      Strength train 2-3x per week – start easy on yourself with 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps. The last few reps should be challenging. Some strength exercises to include are bicep curls, squats, push-ups on the knees, squeeze & release kegal work (feeling of stopping your urine flow), and finally light abdominal work if your body feels ready for it (check with your physician if you are not sure).

3.      Stretch 3x per week or more. Focus on stretching the tight muscles from pregnancy, labor, and now postpartum. Stretches to include in your program are downward dog, child’s pose, pelvic tilts, neck releases, chest expansion, and cat/cow. Try a yoga and/or Pilates class or dvd to help you with stretching the tight muscles while helping you gain strength.

4.      Take time to meditate/relax the mind and focus on the breath, even if that is while you are feeding baby.

 

Tips to motivate you and/or ways to educate you on a safe healthy fitness program:

1.      Purchase a mom & baby dvd.

2.      Join or form a local new mom’s group focused on postnatal exercise.

3.      Check out your local community center for mom and baby classes.

4.      Check out your local hospitals or studios for mom and baby Pilates/yoga classes.

5.      Hire a personal trainer to train you individually or as a small group.

6.      Get on the internet and join a new mom’s group focused on postnatal exercise.

7.      Set realistic goals for you personally. Reward yourself when you meet those goals.

 

     Play with your program until you find something that works for you and for your baby. Exercise should be enjoyable and maybe even a little fun. J

 

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Posted on February 17th, 2009

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