Exercise is great for us, both mind and body, but when you’ve had a baby, this can feel like the last thing you want to do. As and when a woman feels ready to do some physical activity after having a baby, it’s important to do it right, both comfortably and safely for you.
MINDBODY, the leading health and wellbeing app, has shared six of the best ways to get active after birth.
- Gentle weight training: Lightweight training helps to tone up muscles and strengthen your core so is a great postnatal exercise – check with your doctor first though. Start by using low weights and slowly work your way back to using the heavier weights you were before.
- Yoga: Many postnatal women find yoga beneficial, as it helps them to relax in the post-birth whirlwind while helping to strengthen core muscles and ease back pain. Jill Simpson, Founder of MINDBODY studio, EBB&Flow, explained: “Postnatal yoga is a great way to get strong again in specific areas, such as your core muscles. It’s also a time to focus on you, connect with other mums, while boosting your energy.
- Pilates: Pilates is one of the most effective pre and postnatal exercises as it targets the muscles that generally weaken during pregnancy and there are also mental and emotional benefits.
- Pelvic floor exercises: Any mum will be very familiar with pelvic floor exercises. These exercises are incredibly important, as they help to strengthen the muscles that come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. After birth, pelvic floor exercises can also help you heal quicker as they improve circulation to the pelvic area, thus reducing bruising and swelling.
- Light cardio: Light aerobic exercise is an effective postnatal exercise. Brisk walking is the best option for women who did not have a strenuous fitness regime before pregnancy, as it’s gentle but keeps you fit and healthy without jarring your knees and ankles. If you can, aim to go on a brisk 30-minute walk four times a week.
- Swimming: Swimming is incredibly effective in working your heart and lungs without putting too much pressure on your joints. For postnatal women, swimming or an aqua aerobics class are effective in adding muscle tone, whilst providing a gentle exercise that won’t strain your body too much after birth.