Get Back into Shape After Pregnancy – Part 3:
The final 3 tips of our Get Back To Shape After Pregnancy series are here. If you haven’t read the first Two Parts you can find them here:
- Part 1 – Hormones to Understand and a Focus on Posture
- Part 2 – Its a Matter of Movement and Core Rehab
We see so many new mothers struggle to regain their shape; doing the right things can exponentially speed recovery, return function, as well as improve wellbeing and appearance post pregnancy. Our final tips are:
3 – Correct Cardio
Once you’ve returned to moving regularly, restored the activation and function of your core muscles and without discomfort or contraindication you can begin to “pick up the pace”. After clearing the six-week check-up you should be ready to do 20 to 30 minutes of cardio 3 to 5 times a week.
Walking is extremely good for us and should be done every day. If you are going to run (for more than 30minutes) do so at an easy pace. This will not over stress your system and teach your body to utilize fat as a fuel. Once you are comfortable and built up your stamina to should include high intensity interval training (HIIT). You will burn more belly fat with sprint intervals; a large number of convincing studies show that high-intensity interval training is the best for losing belly fat.
4 – Get Strong
Resistance training not only strengthens muscles but ligaments, tendons and bones as well. Weight training is an essential element of correcting your posture and function, burning fat and also conditioning you to deal with life as a mother. The stronger you are the easier and more effortless it will be to carry your child plus all their essential equipment for the day and help you recover from stress.
Muscle is a metabolic tissue. The more muscle you have the more energy you burn throughout the day… the easier it is to lose fat. Muscle is also what gives your body shape. The word “toned” actually means the ability to see muscle. Resistance exercise will make you look better, perform better, prevent injuries and feel less tired.
You do not need to go to a gym to achieve these benefits. Instead of going to the gym you can complete bodyweight exercises at home as well as incorporate your baby into the routine. For example, lie on your back placing your baby on top of your stomach or hips and perform glute bridges, or hold them to your chest and complete a set of squats.
5 – Take Naps
Abnormal sleep cycles like those placed on you by a baby can upset your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose your pregnancy weight. Sleep helps with weight loss because it combats stress, keeps your energy up and you’re not compelled to binge on high-calorie, high-sugar foods for energy.
As I mentioned in tip 1; take a nap anytime the baby does. That way, you won’t end up with a long-term sleep deficit, and you’ll keep your energy levels and your potentially naughty cravings in check.
Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice sleep for exercise time in those early weeks. If you don’t sleep enough, you won’t have the ability to recover effectively from the workouts. All the benefits come in the recovery of exercise, not when actually exercising.
In conclusion, the only exercise you should be considering in the immediate postnatal period is pelvic floor and TVA exercises and some light walking. You can then progress to strengthening exercises ideally through bodyweight movements and exercises that develop the bond between parent and child. It is especially important to realise that the build up of fitness after pregnancy is a gradual process. Ensure you have enough rest and enjoy the wonders of being a mother.
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