By Olivia Johnson, a fully qualified level 3 REPS Personal Trainer specialising in pre-and post natal fitness
When you’re pregnant, although you’re looking forward to meeting your precious newborn… a little voice creeps in .. “what’s going to happen to my body?”… “will I ever get this body back?”… “will I even care?”..
I found myself asking the same questions. I wanted to exercise again as soon as possible - not as a vanity project - but to FEEL good, regain my STRENGTH and keep my ENERGY up. Thankfully I found gradual practical ways to regain my fitness, and enjoy the process with my new daughter included!
Here are some of my top tips:
First off - Walk , walk , walk
If you have a baby, get a buggy and / or a sling and walk .
Many benefits, you get out of the house! You get to show off your new pram! It’s actually lovely to push a pram and keep all your bits at the bottom rather than lugging a heavy handbag around.
Walking is an excellent way to regain your fitness and it’s also great for mental health too. When you are tired and feeling overwhelmed with the walls closing in , grab a warm coat, sensible shoes and take the buggy out for a walk. Walk tall and stride with purpose!
The baby also loves the fresh air and the walking motion will most often rock them to sleep.
Same with a sling, baby loves to cuddle close to you while you walk through rougher areas that a buggy may struggle, a walk through the woods? Needing hands free to walk a dog too?
Better still grab a friend to walk with you too . Walking and chatting and ending up at a coffee shop gives you that added incentive and makes you keep that date !
Get a watch - I have an apple watch which records my steps . You can also get a Fitbit.. it’s encouraging to see how many steps you have done . Start off with a smaller target of 5000 steps a day and gradually increase to 10000 a day . You will surprise yourself even running after your little on in the house will create about 3000 steps a day… up and down the stairs, changing nappy’s and cleaning up the baby, its hard work !!
Look for a local buggy bootcamp class
I was at first nervous about attending a buggy bootcamp class thinking “ what if I can’t keep up ?”
Starting something new is always nerve wracking whoever you are and after a baby your fitness is at a low but this class is for you!
I found a local exercise class which was especially for mums with buggys . The benefit ?
The instructor is trained in post natal exercise and understands what stage you are at and what exercises you should be doing.
You get to bring the baby too so childcare issues sorted ! Spend quality time with baby in the park and get to meet other like minded new Mums .
I really enjoyed this class… I actually thought to myself “ I want to help more Mums feel good about themselves again, regain their fitness gradually, make friends and increase confidence “.. so I decided to become a Personal Trainer and set up my own buggy bootcamp classes!
Run with the buggy – for people ( yes dads can do this too) who enjoy running then this is a great fitness option . If you enjoy running or want to have a target to build up to run 5k then it’s possible to do this and take your little one along too. I started running with my Quinny Buzz then bought a second hand running buggy called a baby jogger from ebay. The point is, you don’t need to spend a lot of cash . I now have a mountain buggy terrain which my daughter was still sitting in aged 5 whilst I ran. It’s also great for off road walks and as the wheels are bigger than standard buggy’s it’s easier to push.
Yoga with baby – this is also a popular option if you want a low impact nice stretch and tone and some places do special classes where baby can come too. Look for classes in your area.
It IS possible to incorporate fitness and movement and exercise into your life when you have had a baby !!!
Start slowly, I would recommend starting with walking and allow your strength and fitness to build up gradually .
The guidelines for exercising is 6 weeks after a natural delivery and 10 weeks after a c section and the DR needs to have seen you to give you the green light to attend that exercise class.
Give yourself a break !! You are amazing ! You have grown a baby. You could be breastfeeding , you are now responsible for looking after a little person, you have a lot on your plate.
Allow yourself the time to recover and bond with your new baby which the first few weeks are all about, then when you are ready and have had the all clear from the Doctor you can research into all the areas I have listed above to add fitness back into your routine.
Most important ? Enjoy it!! Get out there! Grab some friends to come along too or make friends there, be brave , you won’t regret it !
For anyone based in Oxford, check out www.birthbabybalance.co.uk
“Baby steps to Fitness “ - this is an introduction to fitness after having had a baby focusing on the pelvic floor, core , basic toning , flexibility and stretching.
“Buggy Fitness “ - this is an outside class where buggy comes too, building the mothers cardio fitness, strength and flexibility
Both are run by me, an experienced Personal Trainer specialising in pre and post natal and can be booked by clicking onto the website www.birthbabybalance.co.uk