The female body undergoes countless changes during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. These changes can definitely impact how we get back to our exercise routine after kids. Follow these 7 rules for safe exercise after kids when jumping back into your workout regimen!
Start at the basics.
Ever heard the phrase “walk before you run?” The same concept applies after baby! You want to start with basic exercises that strengthen the core and stabilizing muscles before you jump back into high level exercise like running or weight lifting.
Take your time easing back into exercise. I hear women say that they are anxious to get back into shape after baby and I get it. But there is no rush and you are better to take your time and let things heal so that you have better long term health. Otherwise you can end up injured and unable to do any exercise for an even longer period of time.
Watch out for red flags.
Leaking urine, pelvic or back pain, bulging or distended core, or feeling of instability can all be signs of more serious issues if left untreated. These issues are best to be brought to a pelvic floor physical therapist in order to address them properly. And please, do not think that they will just go away on their own, because they won’t.
Avoid “bad” exercises.
Crunches will do nothing for you except put more stress onto the abdomen which can make a diastasis recti worse. Just don’t do them, they won’t make your tummy flat again. Instead, they can make an unstable core worse.
Remember how they told you during childbirth class to breathe and stay relaxed? Well breathing really is important! It helps minimize abdominal pressure which can put added stress onto a diastasis recti. It can also help recruit the pelvic floor and deep core muscles, helping you strengthen them.
In Europe and Australia, it is common practice that all new moms work with a pelvic floor physical therapist after having a baby (sometimes for as long as a year after). There’s a reason for this! Your body has just gone through major trauma while pregnant and delivering a baby. Things are shifted out of place, your muscles aren’t working well, and your connective tissue is dysfunctional. Not to mention everything that goes on in the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles! Making sure you recover properly with a pelvic floor physical therapist will help you feel back to your “normal”, strong self much faster and also help to avoid injuries down the road.
Focus on your core.
The core includes more than just the abdominal muscles. It also includes the pelvic floor muscles, back muscles and the diaphragm. Focusing on exercises that retrain these muscles to work properly should be your primary focus. This is what stabilizes the trunk and spine so it is important to get them working well in order to feel stable and strong.