Ready to get running? You’ve had some time to recover from labor and have settled into life with your newborn baby, now what? Whether or not you were able to stay active through your pregnancy, your body has gone through quite an ordeal! Your abdominal muscles were stretched and displaced, your hormones went from an all-time high during pregnancy to a new low postpartum, you are sleep deprived and running on baby loves. With all of these changes you may not be sure how to get back into a fitness routine. While there are countless ways for you to get back in the groove why not try running back into action?
Why chose running for your postpartum activity:
- In the first few weeks following delivery you are not to lift anything heavier than your new baby. With these guidelines weight training is out. Even body weight exercises may prove too strenuous at this point. The one exception to the strength training rule is gentle yoga.
- With lifting out of the question we are left with cardio. Many physicians advise against swimming for the first 6weeks as they are concerned about increased chance of infection. As far as cycling, I can’t imagine sitting on a saddle would have been an inviting idea in the initial weeks after delivery. This means we are left with running.
- Finally, the most compelling reason to start running after having the baby, it is a chunk of time all to yourself. While you can pack the kiddos up in a jogging stroller in a pinch, having 30minutes a day where no one is counting on you to be mom is liberating. Being a mom is hard work. It is important to find a little piece of time each day that is just about you, you deserve it, and you will be a better mommy for it.
Physiological Changes To Things To Consider
Before you lace up your kicks and hit the road there are a few things to remember:
- Your abdominal muscles are stretched out and deconditioned.
- With a weakened core your lower back is at increased risk of injury.
- Hormonal changes, namely the presences of relaxin, may leave you at higher risk of injuries.
Keep these physiological changes in mind and remember to first and for most listen to your body.
5 Tips For Post Pregnancy Running
The most important thing when beginning to exercise after your pregnancy is to listen to your body. Take it slow and give your body time to adapt. You were pregnant for 9 months and your body underwent some pretty spectacular changes. Give it some time, you will be back to your old self before you know it!
1. Start Slow
When you feel ready, this could be anywhere from a few days to several weeks after labor, start with a walk. When you are ready, add short intervals of running. Let the intervals be fun and based on how you feel that day.
2. Belly Button To Your Spine
As you begin running imagine that there is a string drawing your belly button to your spine. This will help you to engage your core and protect your lower back. Remind yourself throughout the workout; it will take time to retrain your muscles.
3. Tuck Your Pelvis
Pregnancy has a tendency to wreck your posture. During your pregnancy your pelvis tilted forward to make room for your growing baby. Now that little guy is here, you no longer need the extra space, but chances are you are still rocking that forward tilt. This is something you should focus on in daily life as well as during the run. Imagine you are holding a glass of water in your pelvis; if it tilts forward the water in your glass will spill onto the pavement. Remind yourself throughout your run as it will take time to retrain these muscles.
4. Wear A Compression Girdle
When jumping back into exercise after pregnancy wearing a compression girdle, such as the Bellyfit Postpartum Corset, is essential. A compression girdle will help to support your lower back as well as keep your abdominal muscles in place. It may feel silly hooking up a griddle under your workout clothes but the added support is absolutely worth it. Until you get your strength back don’t let pride get in the way, take the extra support.
5. Focus On Form
Take this opportunity to focus on form. Not only will it help to prevent injuries as you rebuild your strength, you will be laying the ground work to come back faster than ever. Tune into different aspects of your form, from your foot fall to your cadence. Focus on fixing the little things now as you are rebuilding your fitness.
Remember you are an individual, everyone’s recovery from pregnancy while be different. Don’t judge yourself against others. Stay consistent and positive with your training, you will reach your goals.
Did you take up running after a pregnancy? What helped you get back into your groove?
For more information on exercising through your pregnancy and after check out the book “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy.
*Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional; these tips are based on my own research and personal experience. Please consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine*