Post natal exercise: A quick guide on getting started with exercise

August 7, 2017

Post natal exercise 

A quick guide on getting started with exercise

 

A lot of women are often unsure what type of exercise they can do post pregnancy, or when they can actually start. If you have found yourself asking these questions or know someone who is, then this blog will be perfect for you. 

 

 

 

Photo by wanderlustaussies  

 

 

Before you start any exercise program or exercises post pregnancy, the first thing you should do is speak to your GP. You may need more time to heal after birth than you think, so it’s important to get the approval from your doctor. Starting some gentle pelvic floor and abdominal exercises is usually ok to commence as you feel ready.

 

Due to the impact pregnancy has on your abdominal muscles, it is important to make sure you allow enough time for these muscle to heal. In the meantime, you can begin to perform exercises that activate the deepest layer of your abdominals, i.e. your deep core (transverse abdomens). It is recommended that you are guided by an Exercise Physiologist or other health professional when performing these exercises, particularly when you are getting started. 

 

 

Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:

 

  • Lie flat on your back, keeping a slight gap under your lower back (representing the natural curve in your spine). To gage this you can slide your hand under your lower back.

  • Commence diaphragmatic breathing (deep breath in through your nose allowing your belly to rise, and a deep breath out through your mouth) These are usually called belly breaths.

  • As you breathe out, think about drawing your belly button towards your spine (we sometimes say, imagine you are stopping yourself from going to the bathroom)

  • Try and maintain this position and continue to breathe lightly

  • Relax and repeat this exercise another 8-10 times.

 

This exercise can be progressed as you begin to strengthen your deep core muscles. It is recommend to see a Exercise physiologist or other physical therapist to ensure you are progressing accordingly.

 

**Video on youtube channel coming soon

 

 

What other types of exercise can I do?

 

If you are wondering what other type of exercises you can get involved in post pregnancy, here is a guide on where you can get started. Once again, it is important to speak to your doctor prior to commencing any exercise. Keep in mind that your ligaments and joints will be loose for at least 3 months following birth, so avoid any high-impact exercises or sports that require rapid direction changes. Vigorous stretching should be avoided too, so stay clear of bikrim yoga initially. Some recommendations include: 

  • brisk walking (outdoors in nature is preferable)

  • swimming

  • aqua aerobics

  • Gentle yoga or dynamic yoga

  • Pilates

  • low-impact aerobic work outs

  • light weight gaining

  • cycling

 

Some general tips to getting back into exercise include:

 

  • speak to your GP!

  • Give yourself enough time to heal properly

  • listen to your body

  • avoid high impact exercise

  • Start slow and gradually progress. Take frequent breaks at first. Start as simple as 5-10minutes of exercise at a time and increase slowly.

  • wear a supportive bra

  • Keep hydrated

  • If you experience any pain or discomfort, slow down or STOP. And consult your GP.
     

Adhering to an exercise program post pregnancy is effective in improving postnatal well-being, and this is supported by research. It is therefore important to try and prioritise exercise into your weekly routine as best as you can, even if it means squeezing in a few home exercises when time permits. Doing something is better than nothing!

 

 

If you would like to know more about post natal exercise and/or would like to book an appointment, you can contact me at stephaniefrade1@gmail.com.

 

 

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