How to Start Exercising After Giving Birth?

“No Time” Fitness. Once Baby Arrives, A Little Fitness Goes A Long Way

New mothers listen to months of advice before their new baby arrives. No matter how much advice they absorb, not much can prepare them for the day they head home from the hospital. And nothing prepares them for one reality: no time. There is no time to sleep, no time to clean, no time for socializing and certainly no time for fitness. No matter how well you prepare for getting back into shape after childbirth, finding the time and the energy to actually do it becomes a problem.

After all the advice you have heard, here are a few little tips for “no time” fitness.

Begin Slowly

No matter what you imagine will happen during your pregnancy, getting back into shape is never easy. It took nine months to get to the birth; expect at least nine months to get back to pre-pregnancy shape again. Start out slowly with a few stretches or a short walk and work your way up. When you thrust yourself into an intense workout routine, two things are likely to happen: You are going to be stiff and sore with no desire to get back into your exercise regimen for a while, or you will burn out. Both end in the same result: no exercise.

Remember, a little goes a long way. You will see more results in the long run with a little exercise often than with a lot of exercise occasionally. So begin slowly and add a few more repetitions or a few more exercises as you feel up to it.

Be Consistent

The story of the tortoise and the hare is perfect for the person who wants to get into shape and stay there. Consistency is the key to winning the race. Even a few minutes of stretching every day is better for your body and your state of mind than an hour of strenuous exercise once a month. That hour every once in a while may feel like you are doing something because you are stiff and sore, but in reality, that painless few minutes every day is doing more for your body.

So take a moment to stretch every morning when you get up. Five minutes will do. Then take a 15- or 20-minute walk sometime during the day or climb the stairs a few more times. Add five or 10 minutes to the end of your day to do a few conditioning exercises, and you are set. This is a doable routine for most moms.

It takes very little time. Remember, the key to a successful fitness routine is consistency. Do it every day.

Take Time As It Comes

Take advantage of the few moments you have during the day to get some rest and exercise. When your baby is napping, exercise or nap yourself. Rest and exercise are on the same team – the fitness team. Fitness not only gives you a slimmer, more shapely body, but it also makes you healthier – physically, mentally and emotionally. It all connects.

If a friend or relative offers to baby-sit for an hour or two, take the opportunity. Go for a stroll outside or to a mall. You can get your errands done at the same time you are exercising. After all, walking is great exercise.

Include Your Baby in Your Fitness Routine

A baby carrier or a stroller is a good investment. That way you will be able to take your walk with your baby. When my oldest child started kindergarten two blocks away, my two younger children and I would walk him to school in the morning and pick him up later. It was only two blocks, but adding up the two blocks back and forth, we actually walked eight blocks each day. That’s almost a mile. A little adds up to a lot.

As the baby grows, there are many exercises you will be able to do together. Simply lifting a few extra pounds of Baby does wonders for your upper body and arms. Getting down on the floor and playing with your child is fun and great for your body as well.

Set Goals

The only way to actually achieve anything (except by accident, of course) is to make a plan. Set a goal. In fact, set lots of goals. In order to reach a major long-term goal, you need to set short-term goals. Short-term goals are those that allow you to see daily or weekly progress. Without progress, the long-term goal may seem impossible and be forgotten altogether. Suggestions for short-term goals would be eating healthy meals or taking a walk every day. You might even chart your short-term goals on your calendar to ensure consistency in your plan.

A goal is similar to beginning a journey. If you have a road map, you can see how long it will take and how many miles you have to go. Goals are your road map. They help you determine how long and how far you have to go.

More Activity Means More Exercise

Sometimes we have the mistaken idea that exercise is just that – an exercise like push-ups or sit-ups. Actually, it is simply activity. We need to get our bodies going, moving and doing something. Then we are exercising. So get going! Do more. Jump around and have fun. Walk to the park. Sit on the floor and scoot and wiggle and laugh with your child. Clap your hands, dance to the music and make faces (great exercises for your face!).

Try to Do All Three Types of Exercise

There are three types of exercise: aerobics, stretches and strength. Each does something different for the body. Ideally, you need all of them to feel you are getting fit.

Aerobics is movement such as walking, dancing or running. It moves the legs and arms, working the heart and lungs. It also is the type of exercise that helps with weight loss by using up calories. So if you feel you need to shed a few pounds, aerobics is the type of exercise for you.

Stretching makes you more flexible and ultimately more comfortable with what your body can do. Stretching is excellent for a “no time” schedule. First, feel a string pulling you up from the top of your head. Your posture should immediately improve, stretching your body taller. Now stretch your arms up to the ceiling. Feel as if you are trying to reach the clouds. You can stretch most parts of your body, including your ankles, wrists, neck and head, arms, waist and legs. An easy stretch for your ankles helps to relieve the swelling that may occur from carrying more weight than your body is used to. Place your right leg over the ankle or knee of your left leg. Rotate the right ankle first clockwise then counterclockwise. You should roll the ankle several times before switching to the other ankle.

Strength exercises help build muscle and tone. Even if you begin to lose weight from aerobics, you will soon discover that building muscle and tone is imperative to feeling good about your fitness. Strength exercises can be sit-ups and push-ups, of course. They can also be exercises like lifting your baby. Any exercise that involves lifting weight will firm and tone your muscles. So you are probably already doing some additional strength training.

Fitness is not only a matter of losing weight, but also a matter of keeping a healthy body. A healthy body helps us all to cope with everyday stress as well as feeling more energetic and full of life. Having a newborn baby certainly is a time in your life that should be filled with energy and newness. Fitness can go a long way in making it feel wonderful.

As Your Baby Grows

As your baby moves into toddlerhood, you have more exercise options. Take some time outside to play an energetic game of tag. Turn on some dance music and let loose with your young dance partner. Play hopscotch or jump rope together. Set up an obstacle course in your living room and take turns navigating it. Get out a stopwatch and time each other doing sprints up the driveway.

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