Lu Dolton, of Alpine Active talks about returning to exercise after having a baby. It’s not to be underestimated.
“Growing and birthing a human (however you give birth) is extraordinary, humbling, difficult, life affirming and many other emotions in between.
Navigating the early postpartum period and understanding the changes that your body has been through can be challenging and overwhelming, especially as you are trying to do this whilst also learning how to care for a tiny little person and operating on minimal sleep.
Returning to exercise may not be high on your agenda in those early weeks and months after giving birth but if it is, figuring out how to get back to moving again can be confusing and overwhelming.
Here are my 5 top tips for returning to exercise after having a baby:
1. Take Your Time
It took 9 months to grow your tiny little person, it’s going to take a lot longer than 6 weeks to recover.
Your amazing body has stretched and grown with your baby, your posture will have changed, your pelvic floor and core have been worked to the extreme and your hormones are working overtime.
This isn’t to scare you, it’s to remind you that our bodies need nurturing and rebuilding from within. With hard work, patience and perseverance you will get to where you want to be.
2. See a Pelvic Health Physio
We are so fortunate to have ready access to the most amazing network of women’s health physios, osteopaths and other healthcare professionals here in Geneva and this is always my first recommendation for new mums. A Pelvic Health Physio will be able to assess where you are at in terms of pelvic floor function, core responsiveness and any musculoskeletal changes. They will be able to help you understand the changes your body has been through and kickstart your journey to rebuild your strength from within.
3. Master the Basics
In the immediate postpartum period learning how to breathe into all that new found space in our bodies, reconnecting with our core and rebuilding strength and stability is vital.
Some of this work might seem boring but I promise you that taking some time to focus on the boring stuff will build the foundations for a stronger, healthier you in the longer term.
So often our heads are ready to do more than our bodies are – it’s super important to take the time to build up to heavier impact activities like running to avoid causing and long term issues.
4. Don’t Compare
Returning to exercise post-birth is a journey and like all journeys there will be bumps in the road; lack of sleep, illness, breastfeeding, lack of time are just some of the challenges.
Just as everyone’s experience of birth is different, so is everyone’s return to exercise, try not to compare yourself to anyone else or indeed yourself if this is your second or third baby. I repeat, with time, you will get to where you want to be.
5. Motherhood is a Workout
Lifting, carrying, bobbing, rocking, pram naps… there is no greater workout than being a mum and I am always reminding the mums that I work with of this.
In the early days with my second born, I could easily rack up 10,000 steps without leaving the house – endlessly back and forth to fetch a nappy, grab a snack, load some washing.
People underestimate the many benefits of a walk but sometimes some gentle exercise and a heart dose of fresh air is exactly what you need! Listen to your body and be kind to yourself – you are doing great!”
Author Lu Dolton is a Personal Trainer, specialising in pre and postnatal exercise. Lu works 121 with clients and runs 6 week courses for mums, designed to help you regain confidence in your post-baby body and leave you feeling fitter and stronger.
To find out more, head to https://www.alpineactive.ch
And don’t forget The HUB’s Walk & Talk sessions combine gentle exercise and a chat in the beautiful Versoix woods. Children, babies, and pushchairs are all very welcome. Join us every two weeks. Find details of the dates here.