One of the first questions many moms have after giving birth is, “When can I start working out?”. I know this was one of the first questions I asked my doctor. The answer to this questions varies in each individual case. Those who deliver via c-section typically will take longer to heal than those who had a natural birth. The most important factor is to make sure you receive clearance from your doctor before starting any fitness routine.
The Recovery Period 0-6 Weeks
During the first 6 weeks postpartum you should focus on adjusting to your new baby and allowing your body to recover. Childbirth puts an immense strain on your body. The recovery period is the time to concentrate on physical recovery, increasing mobility and strengthening your pelvic floor. Exercises to try during this period are:
Walking – Start with ten minutes 1-2 times/week and increase as you grow stronger. By putting your baby in the stroller and even just walking around your neighborhood is a great way to get started.
Kegel Exercises – After 40 weeks of pregnancy our pelvic floor muscles are subpar. After childbirth pelvic floor muscles are very weak. Kegels will help strengthen your pelvic floor again.
Hip Thrusts – This is an easy yet effective exercise that will help strengthen your pelvic floor. Listen to your body and don’t try this (especially if you had a c-section) until you feel comfortable. Start with a small number like 3/day and build upon that as you get stronger.
If you had a natural childbirth, this is normally the time when your doctor will give you the “okay” to go ahead and start working out again. C-section Mama’s will normally still be in the recovery period until 12 weeks postpartum, when they receive the clearance to begin working out. As I’ve said before, continue to listen to your body and don’t push to hard.
If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to beginning a fitness routine, make sure to stick to low-impact, moderate exercises.
Yoga – Yoga is a low impact exercise that can strengthen and tone your body while balancing your metabolism. Check out 5 Youtube Yoga Workouts That You Can Do Anywhere HERE.
Swimming – Not only is this a full body workout but it’s a great calorie burner as well.
PiYo – PiYo is a combination of pilates and yoga. This fast-paced calorie burning workout will help you shed the baby weight while also strengthening your body.
Pilates – Concentrates on sculpting muscles and strengthening your core
Light Weight Training – During weight training, I must reiterate to listen to your body. Make sure to keep these weights light and to not strain or push your body.
At this point you may be able to partake in moderate to intense exercises. When starting more intense exercises, it’s also smart to stay hydrated and to continue to listen to your body.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is the best way to burn the maximum amount of calories in the shortest amount of time. As you become stronger, this can be worked into your daily routine. If this sounds like the route you want to go make sure to check out my 28-Day HIIT Challenge! I’ve written out 28 days of HIIT workouts for you to try, with no equipment needed!
Plyometrics – This is when the muscles exert maximum force in a short amount of time. The goal here is to increase power through speed.
Kickboxing – This is one of my favorite classes to take. During this intense workout you will burn a lot of calories while also muscle toning. In addition you’ll also learn a few self-defense moves.
Tabata – I love to hate this class. Tabata burns a ton of calories, but you have to push yourself. Tabata alternates 20 seconds of maximum HIIT work with 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. The 28-day HIIT Workout Challenge can easily be used as a tabata workout.
Heavy Weight Lifting – Now is the time when you can start to ease back into weight lifting. Weight lifting has many proven benefits, like high calorie burner, improves bone density and tones/builds muscle mass.
As always, please consult a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. It’s okay to take things slow and to not jump into an intense workout. Overall, listen to what your body is telling you. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your little one.