Hi friends! How’s your week going? We’ve been having a nice relaxing time here in Oz. I’ve been taking the little man for walks everyday, which has been amazing! Having a winter baby really confines you to the house so we’ve been taking advantage of the summer weather here. I’ve also been able to get to the local gym and take my beloved Les Mills classes. I really feel like my fitness level is returning to my pre-baby level, although it has taken a lot of work to get to this point. While there is a lot of information available for prenatal exercise, I found that the same is not really true for postnatal. So I thought I would share with you some of the best postnatal resources I’ve found.
The first thing I did after giving birth to Cooper was start to walk. This was especially important given that I had a C-section and my mobility was limited as a result. Walking really helped me heal faster even though I started out very slowly. Eventually I was able to walk further and longer without feeling my stitches pull. The great part about walking is you can do it with your little one in a stroller or a carrier. It’s also the easiest way to ease back into cardio.
Barre3 was an absolute lifesaver for me! I subscribe to barre3’s online classes and in addition to their full-length workouts, they offer quick 10 minute workouts. This is perfect for new moms who are lacking in time and energy. I started out just doing upper body workouts since I could do this sitting in a chair and it didn’t require use of my lower body, which was still recovering from my C-section. Plus, barre3 uses light weights (I use 3lbs) so I didn’t have to worry about lifting more than I could handle.
Once I started feeling a bit better, I ventured into their postnatal workouts. One particular 10 minute postnatal workout was perfect for reintroducing exercise back into my life. The workout is designed specifically for new moms and focuses on some really gentle and basic core and pelvic work as well as some gentle arm, leg and bottom work.
When I reached the four week mark after Cooper’s birth, I was finally able to start officially exercising. I found barre3’s Bounce Back online workout to be the perfect solution for easing back into my routine. The class is 30 minutes and offers some terrific modifications for new moms. It really helped me regain my strength without pushing myself too hard!
Barre3’s online classes are terrific but I also found that their studio classes were a great way to get back into group exercise when I was finally ready to venture out into that world again. Their classes are great for any fitness level but they definitely pay more attention to new moms and injured participants more so than other classes I’ve been to.
Leah Stewart’s LiveLife Pilates for New Mothers
This is hands down the best DVD for building your core muscles post-baby. So many people think you can just jump back into regular core work but you can actually injure your abs if you don’t take it easy when you are coming back. Leah Stewart’s pilates DVD helps new moms through all the stages of their recovery starting with the first few weeks home from the hospital and progressing all the way to a more advanced pilates class.
The DVD is divided into four segments:
Becoming Reacquainted– (16 minutes) This segment focuses on breathing, feeling a connection with your core and very gentle basic moves to start reconnecting those core muscles. It is nice and short, perfect for a busy new mom. It is perfectly acceptable to start doing this workout in the first few days and weeks after giving birth. It is a great foundation for progressing to more difficult core moves once you’ve healed a bit more.
Becoming Balanced– (45 minutes) This segment progresses and builds on the moves in Becoming Reacquainted. Becoming Balanced starts to implement some basic pilates moves to begin building strength and tone in your core, legs, glutes and pelvis. The moves are still gentle and create a great foundation for advancing to more difficult moves when ready. This segment is appropriate 4-6 weeks after giving birth.
Becoming Connected– (22 minutes) This segment can be done with your baby and continues to build on the moves introduced in Becoming Balanced. It moves at a faster pace and continues to build strength. It is appropriate 2-4 months after giving birth.
Becoming Renewed– (45 minutes) The final and most advanced segment is a more traditional pilates mat class. It helps build a strong postnatal body and starts toning those abdominals that have been dormant for so long. It is appropriate 4-6 months after giving birth.
I really enjoyed BodyVive when I was pregnant because it is a great combination of low-impact cardio and resistance training using bands. I also found it to be a great way to reintroduce cardio and strength training into my routine after baby. Their are plenty of options to increase the intensity, which allowed me to come back slowly by making modifications when needed and pushing myself more when I could. I especially liked having a low-impact cardio option to try before jumping back into my higher impact cardio classes.
The great thing about yoga is that it can be as challenging or as gentle as you like. When I first started working out after baby, I found gentle yoga stretches really helped me feel great without over exerting myself. The balancing poses are a great way to start engaging your core muscles without adding stress to them by crunching. The mind/body connection is also extremely beneficial for relaxing after the stress of caring for a newborn.
Babies on Board
I wrote an entire post on the wonders of this class but I have to include Babies on Board by Xtend Barre on this list. The class is available for moms and babies from six weeks and it is such a wonderful way to get fit while also spending time with your little one. Carrying around an extra ten pound weight really adds a whole new layer to working out. It has a great low-impact cardio component as well as toning areas that can become very weak during pregnancy and childbirth like glutes, thighs, core and pelvic floor.
Readers, what are your postnatal fitness tips? Have you ever had to rehab yourself after an injury or surgery? Do you take regular walks?