After having a baby it can be tough to get back into an old fitness routine, and even tougher to start a new one. Your body and mind have been through a lot and you need to give them time to heal.
It may not always feel like it, but exercise in what ever form you choose, may be the perfect way to boost your energy.
You may be doing it for the physical reasons but the mental side is just as important.
Exercise can prevent or aid the recovery from post natal depression and if nothing else, can give you a little break from the baby mayhem to focus on yourself.
1. Wait until your body is ready
If you had a straight forward birth you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel well enough. Listen to your body and start very slow with walking, gentle stretches and strengthening your pelvic floor.
The NHS recommends that you wait until after your six week postnatal check before you start any strenuous activities. Not everyone is offered a check at this point but you can request one if you would like to check you are ready, or if you have any questions.
If you had a c-section you will have to wait longer (generally 8-10 weeks). Check with your doctor or midwife before starting any kind of strenuous exercise.
2. Remember your body has changed
Your core muscles have most probably separated and your joints are more supple so it is easier to hurt yourself by pushing too hard, too fast.
The sports bra you bought during pregnancy may need reassessing once again. A good fitting bra will reduce the risk of getting stretch marks and help prevent back pain. Too tight, and you may increase your chances of getting mastitis.
Check to see if your feet have grown during pregnancy as you may need to new trainers.
3. Don't over do it
Listen to your body and start slow! Don't let yourself become too tired (on top of the tiredness I know you're already feeling) and watch for an increase in postnatal bleeding. Pushing yourself too hard could just cause you setbacks in the long run.
4. It's as much for the mind as it is for the body
It is perfectly acceptable to want to 'improve' your body but it is also important to love it as it is. To hear from other women who are learning to love their new bodies, check out the blog post below.
5. Eat Healthily
Eating healthily is just as important now as it was when you were growing your little person. It will influence the way you feel even before exercising and affect your energy levels as your body heals.
Preparation is key to getting you through those days when all you want to do is crumble and eat junk food. I'm not saying you should never do that (hello, just grown a baby over here!) but remember what you put in will effect the way you feel.
Prepping veg to snack on will give you an easy option to grab during the day. If you're short on sleep/time now is the time to allow yourself to buy the pre cut fruit and vegetables for ease.
Don't discount frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables either.
This is also another great reminder to accept help from friends and family. When my best friend had her little one I went to Sainsbury's on the way to see her and stocked her up with all things good and comforting to get her through a couple of days. People will want to help so let them!
Always remember to eat before you exercise and drink plenty of water.
6. Find the right exercise for you
You should start with low impact exercise like walking, cycling, gentle stretching and pelvic floor exercises. When your postnatal bleeding has stopped, swimming is also a great choice.
Once you have had your 6 week check and are ready to join a class, there are lots for you to choose from. From dancing to toning and pilates, check out some of the options below and find a class that brings you joy.
Flirty Fitness, Hemel Hempstead - http://www.flirtyfitness.co.uk/mother-and-baby-classes
Mums of Steel, Berkhamstead, Abbots Langley and more - https://mumsofsteel.com/classes-%26-locations
Beez Kneez, Berkhamstead - https://www.beezkneezhive.com/local-classes/
Emma James Physiotherapy, Hemel Hempstead - https://www.facebook.com/emmajamesphysiotherapy/
To find more classes local to you visit...