30-Minute Postpartum Workouts
Finding the Time
The second you become a mother your schedule is filled. You wake up, feed the baby, burp the baby, bathe the baby, put the baby for a nap, and then do it all over again. You barely have time for rest, let alone a workout. Exercise is the last thing on your mind. How can you possibly think about exercise when you can't even remember the last time you slept longer than 3 hours?
But maybe a little workout would be beneficial to you. It was been proven that exercise, even if it is just for 10 minutes, can boost your mood, metabolism, as well as your body image! Finding that extra time to slip in a workout will be hard, but very beneficial.
Finding time to workout seems nearly impossible, but it's quite possible when you have a helping hand. Ask your husband, babysitter, friend, or family member, to babysit for just a short 30 minutes. That is really all it takes! There are also many gyms that provide childcare for you.
Note: You should never engage in strenuous physical activity after giving birth until your doctor has given you the "ok." This will probably be sometime around 6-8 weeks after giving birth, it all depends on your body, and how active you were before and during your pregnancy.
When you start that first workout somewhere in this time frame, take it easy, your body may still have a little more healing to do. Your body will let you know if you are pushing too hard. Any bleeding, pain, or unusual sensations during your workout may indicate that you need to slow down.
No matter how active you were before having your baby, everyone should always start their workouts by stretching. Focus on stretching your main muscles starting from your head, all the way down to your toes.
After you stretch, your first workout should always be light walking. This will get your heart pumping faster, and give your body time to adjust to the flow of your blood circulation. Cardio is the key to fat burning! Try walking a half mile your first day, then gradually increasing your daily performance at your body's speed. Do not take off running immediately. This could result in you being extremely sore the next day. Some of your joints and ligaments will most likely still be a bit loose from childbirth.
If you are in a gym, you can set the treadmill on a low speed. Treadmills track the distance that you have gone, as well as the time it has taken you. Most of them even track how many calories you have burned!
Gyms also have ellipticals. Cardio on an elliptical will be more strenuous than on a low speed treadmill. Since ellipticals are more like walking up a flight of stairs than running on flat ground, I would not recommend starting off on these. Work on the treadmill until your body feels 100% comfortable with your workout.
Some gyms also offer postpartum classes! This is a great way to exercise in a room full of women who are in a very similar position that you are.
Yoga is probably the best workout to do after childbirth. It is slow, calming, and gives you that sense of relaxation that you have been missing with a new baby! Yoga is not strenuous at all, and postnatal yoga classes are becoming very popular.
Lifting heavy objects after childbirth is never a good idea. This is one of the main reasons they offer maternity leave. Even if you lifted heavily before your pregnancy, your body is different now. You should start off light. 10-20 lb. weights are a good range to start with, then gradually lift more as time goes on. You should not lift for long periods of time.
There are also other ways to tone your arms. Try doing small sets of wall push ups with little incline. This will give you an arm workout, while putting a minimal amount of stress on your body.
You should ALWAYS make sure that you are cleared to do any type of abdominal exercise before persuing! Since your baby grows in this segment of your body, your abdominal muscles are separated during and after childbirth. It will most likely take much longer than 2 months for them to close completely. It is important to not stretch them, or work them out too much, because this could result in them separating further, or not closing properly.
For this reason, it's not wise to use any exercise equipment during those first couple months after having your baby. I have attached a link below that will show you some safe and effective postpartum ab workouts.
Leg day is the day that everyone dreads, but leg exercises are actually some of the safest postpartum exercises. After having a baby, your pelvis expands, and it will take a while for it to go back to normal. So always be careful while working around your pelvic area. Exercises like squats are fine to do, but do not push your body too hard, and do not forget that your body will tell you if it is being overworked! Do not look past any signs that you may need to rest or reduce your activity.
If you are at a gym, try to do exercises that do not involve machinery. There are very many lower body workouts that do not involve equipment, just remember to do them in moderation, and only increase your activity in a daily sequence.
Do not forget that everybody is different. Postpartum workouts and results vary. Some women might look like they never even had a baby, while others will have to work hard to get the results they want. Never push yourself or your body too hard, because it can result in injury. Take your time getting yourself used to your workouts, and always remember that you just had a baby. Your body needs time to heal, before it can get back to the way it was pre-pregnancy.