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  • Kevin Ryan, MPT

5 Tips to return to exercise after having a child

Updated: Apr 16, 2020


1) Walk, don’t run --- Walking programs particularly those that are mild to moderate in nature can start nearly immediately following delivery. Start slow with walking 3 days per week and as you feel better increase the days and then the intensity. If you are a runner, after being cleared by your doctor, start back in the same manner, slowly and only a few days a week. Also if you are a runner, be certain to add in a core exercise routine. All areas of the core musculature have been effected by being pregnant.

2) Start with the pelvic floor for a stronger core --- Pelvic floor exercises (i.e. Kegel exercises) are recommended immediately following delivery. They are a key component to preventing and controlling urinary incontinence and a key component to the CORE musculature. Research shows that therapy exercises that incorporate the pelvic floor are significantly more effective in postpartum patients than doing just therapy exercises/core exercises alone.

3) Get fit to run, don’t run to get fit --- A lot of us choose to run for exercise, but muscle imbalances in the hip and core that are traumatized by pregnancy are exploited by the forces associated with running. It is better to begin with walking, core exercises, yoga or pilates, and strength training to reduce your risk of overuse injuries or back pain with jumping right into running. If running is your passion, be sure to add strength training and core exercises to a regular routine as your body has changed.

4) Don’t be afraid, schedule it into your day --- Research has shown time and time again that regular exercise during the postpartum period and beyond has significant health benefits. Exercise improves mental health, reduces stress, and improves the overall health of both moms and children. The stress relief of carving out your own time will improve your overall healing and thus your interaction with your children. Scheduling it as a regular activity or meeting will make it easier to keep your promise to yourself.

5) Drink more fluids --- Exercise has been proven to be beneficial in the postpartum period and is safe even while nursing, but fluid loss needs to be replaced particularly during this time. It is more important during this time to stay hydrated particularly with exercising, so drink lots of water if pursuing your exercise goals.

***When initiating exercise programs be sure to consult your physician first to insure no complications exist, particularly if you had complications during delivery or pregnancy.

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