Hello, February! This is the time of year when life has slowed down a bit (hopefully) after the holiday buzz and New Year intentions or resolutions. Did you set any fitness goals for health and wellness this year? It can be challenging to figure out just where to begin, especially when you’re ready to get back to your workout routine after baby is born. Movement, no matter what type, is beneficial for your physical and emotional health. Start slowly, and you’ll soon be moving, grooving and feeling great.
A common theme in all of my posts is Love, Gratitude and Respect for your body. When it comes to working out after baby is born, focus on gaining strength and reawakening energy, instead of losing inches. I’d like for you to let go of the idea of “bouncing back” to your pre-baby shape. I don’t know of any woman who’s body is the same as it was before baby. *guess what* It’s not supposed to be! You’ve transformed in the most beautiful way. The idea that our bodies are supposed to be the same after we’ve been through the most life changing experience is not realistic. So, beautiful momma, be kind to yourself and lets find more love, acceptance and gratitude for our bodies and what they’ve created!
Let go of the idea of “bouncing back” to your pre-baby shape!
As you get back to boosting your energy and mood, consider incorporating cardio and strength training. Cardiovascular exercise is not just great for your heart, it increases your metabolism, and provides that boost of exercise induced endorphins. These “feel good” hormones can help combat symptoms of depression which are very common after birth. Strength training helps support your body as baby grows and becomes heavy to carry around all… day… long… It can also improve your balance and coordination. You’ll be grateful for this as you discover the juggling act that is motherhood.
The intention and goal behind our workouts in this new season of our lives is Love. So, first and foremost, explore what fitness programs or types of exercise you actually enjoy! <– Hello! You should look forward to working out, not dread it. You CAN love your workout, I promise.
Here are a few of my Post-Baby Fitness tips to discover this love of fitness and overall wellness…
- Grab a buddy. This is a key ingredient in staying committed to any sort of regularity with your fitness and wellness goals. Coordinating your workout with your fitness buddy holds you both accountable. Plus, catching up with your bud always makes life better. Maybe you and your friend schedule a day every week or every other week to cook together or share a new healthy recipe. Having this person to check in with on a regular basis will dramatically increase your chances for success. We’re in this together!
- Love your body, love your workout. Here’s a thought, may I suggest you don’t run if you absolutely dread it. Don’t force yourself to take that spin class if the thought of climbing on that bike stresses you out. If you feel you need a little more happiness in your fitness routine, do not return to that instructor’s class who screams “encouragement” while putting your body down in a backhanded way. You deserve way better than that, gorgeous. Test out different classes, gyms, indoor/outdoor programs, mom’s fitness clubs, online programs. There are plenty of options, find what works for you and you’ll look forward to working out!
- Walk it out. Simple. It’s lovely to get outdoors and take baby for a walk in the stroller. If you live up north, like me, it’s chilly or downright freezing right now. You may still be able to do this if the temps haven’t dropped too much. Bundle baby up in that cute knit hat you got as a shower gift and cozy up with a snuggly blanket, maybe throw on your YakTrax. (Northerners, these treads that attach to your shoes or boots are a must for outdoor workouts in the winter, or just safely walking on snow and ice.) One of my favorite ways to walk with baby when it gets cooler outside is to wear them. Whether you use a wrap like the Moby or a carrier like the Ergo (with newborn insert,) Call your girlfriend, get outdoors and walk. Breathing in fresh air does WONDERS for a new mom.
- Schedule it in. We book everything else in our lives, do you incorporate fitness into your weekly planner? If you make that date with your fitness buddy (or yourself,) you’re more likely to stay on track. Make this a priority as much as those doctor appointments, business meetings, play dates, and pedicures. You can do it!
- Register for a race. There are races of all levels of difficulty. From a 5K run/walk, 10 or 30 mile bike race or a swim event in your area, you can certainly find a fun and healthy challenge. When you register for a race, you’ve committed in a different way towards your post baby fitness goal. That race date on the calendar, plus the added registration fee both hold you accountable, along with your fitness buddy. So, sign up! I can guarantee you will not regret crossing that finish line!
- Power to the sticky note. Instead of hanging a picture of a celebrity in a bikini (photoshopped) or a picture of yourself from college or your wedding day, how about writing something inspirational on a sticky note that you’ll see each day. A little note that says, “I am strong.” “I am beautiful.” or the date of the race you’ve registered for. Keep your head in a positive, healthy, inspiring place, versus the critical and hurtful commentary that too often plays. We each do it, but we can change these patterns within ourselves. Remember, begin with love. And write it on a sticky note. *wink*
Still nursing? Check out my tips for Postpartum Exercise and Breastfeeding here.
I hope you soon find a balance that works for you. Remember to begin slowly and cut yourself some slack when you need extra rest, a day (or week) off. With regular commitment, you’ll begin feeling your energy returning and mood boosting. Starting is the hardest part, so keep moving, mommas. You’re on the right track!
We would love to hear about your fitness goals for this year! Please comment below to stay accountable!
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And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our HT #BreastfeedingWorld