From Giving Birth To Bombshell: Getting Fit After Pregnancy
Regaining your pre-baby body after giving birth is achievable, but it often falls to the wayside as new mothers have to keep up with a new baby and changes in their daily schedule. To complicate things further, roughly 25% of women in the UK are affected by postnatal depression up to a year after giving birth, which can further impact both mum’s and baby’s health. Being tired makes it hard to get extra physical activity, and with emotions still running high for a while, it can be hard to control emotional eating that sabotages your healthy routine.
With a few changes in how you view (and do) exercise, you can finally fit it into your daily life, and return to being both fabulous and fit. Getting plenty of exercise doesn’t just help you drop the baby weight, it also helps to repair pelvic muscles, and can ward off or improve depression. Feeling better both physically and mentally through proper exercise and a good diet doesn’t just give you an ego boost, either. You’ll also be setting good habits for your baby, as well as have plenty of energy to conquer motherhood and shower your little one with all the love and attention they need.
Get the doctor’s ok
Before doing anything, make sure you have been cleared by your doctor for an appropriate level of physical activity. Depending on whether you had a C-section or vaginal birth, recovery time can vary. Giving birth in any form causes a great deal of physical stress, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You might also be experiencing other things that can hinder or generally affect your physical activity, like neck or back strain from nursing. You don’t want to exert muscles that are already experiencing strain, so let your doctor know if you’re having any pain, and look into accessories that are designed to alleviate the issue. You should also discuss any desired dietary changes with your doctor, to ensure that your diet gives you the nutrition you need to care for your little one.
Small physical changes add up
It’s not feasible for all new moms to have enough ‘me-time’ during the week to stick to a strictly regimented exercise routine. For the times in-between scattered exercise sessions, adopting small physical changes can prove quite effective. Taking the stairs, for example, is a swap that will help you burn off a few extra calories as well as help you strengthen your legs and glutes. You can also make your daily errands double as exercise by opting to walk instead of drive to nearby places. You don’t have to walk a marathon, either; short intermittent walks throughout the day can be just as effective as longer sessions. Taking a 10-minute stroll can boost your metabolism, burns a few extra calories, boosts your energy level, and gives you a mood boost as well. In fact, a study by the University of Cambridge showed that a 20- minute walk each day is enough to cut risks of premature death by a third. Simple yet effective, walking is clearly beneficial to your overall health. Mix this with some dedicated workouts a couple times a week, and you have a winning combination.
Beat your cravings
For some, exercise is the easy part, and it’s their diet that stirs up trouble. From the aforementioned emotional eating, cravings due to hormonal changes, or just plain ol’ temptation, it can really throw a monkey wrench into your fitness goals. Make note of what you most often crave, and foods that are just hard to say no to, and keep them out of the house, in case your willpower is late to the party. Choosing healthier alternatives to your favourite snacks is also a good way to keep cravings at bay and shed some of the baby weight. Swap potato crisps for baked veggie crisps, ice cream for decadently flavored yogurt, and chocolate for trail mix with just bits of chocolate (so you eat less chocolate overall). Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also have a significant impact on hunger on cravings, so keep your water bottle handy.
Have a support system
An extremely beneficial component to living a healthy lifestyle, though it is sometimes taken for granted, is having a good support system at home. When you have people in your life that support your goals, there’s next to nothing holding you back from achieving them. Having someone that prepares and eats healthy meals with you, gives you some time to yourself for a ‘normal’ workout, and helps reduce your stress levels by helping out when needed, can make all the difference.
Live your best life
The best and easiest way to get fit after pregnancy is to live a healthy lifestyle overall. This, of course, doesn’t take place overnight- and that’s ok. The key to success is consistency. Making gradual changes to your life in order to form healthier, long-term habits will give you more than a quick-fix that doesn’t stick. A healthy lifestyle gives you your best life, for you and your child.